Love in a time of Corvid

There is a window which has a view out across the valley and then way out over to the now extinct volcanoes in the west. The land is old and has many folds and ridges. Rivers and creeks drain the lower lying land. A patchwork of forest and fields, but mostly forest extends clear to the horizon. And from this height, the horizon is a far distance indeed. The forest nearest to the window is an orderly place full of tall and well spaced trees. When the sun shines with force, the scent of eucalyptus oil is carried by the air. When the tall trees flower, honey is all that you will smell.

It’s officially winter and the air is cool and moist. There is little land between here and Antarctica. And sometimes the frozen continent sends a taste of the cold, and then the winds will blow. However, being inland the winds rarely blow all that hard. A few days ago after a day of work around the farm, I sat in a toasty hot bath and looked through the window only to see the Antarctic winds blowing the tall trees around.

High up in one of the tallest trees, a pair of magpies watched the setting sun. As the sun set, a storm was advancing from the south and I wondered what those birds were thinking. The family of magpies were five birds not all that long ago, and now there are two. As the sun set, they flew off to their roost and the mystery travelled with them.

Life can be a bit of a mystery. As of today, there are no cases of the health subject which dare not be named in this rural area, and yet we still face restrictions. The city folks are faced with even harsher restrictions. This is our fourth lock down now with no end in sight, and I read somewhere that this has now encompassed over 160 days. This is probably longer than anywhere else on the planet. It’s extraordinary, so I thought that I’d continue to provide a glimpse into my week of continued captivity:

Day Four

Long term readers will recall that I have some sort of inexplicable shoulder injury (edit: not so inexplicable – remember the big rock and almost face plant from 2 months ago). With nothing better to do, and travel for health reasons being permissible, I made an appointment to see the doctor. The doctor then sent me off to visit the radiologist so as to get some x-rays. For readers living outside of Australia, down here everyone chips in 2% of their income towards the communities medical costs, and so the visits left me out of pocket about $200. A quick peek at the x-rays was interesting, but I was unable to return to the doctor that day and so had to wait a few days to learn of the prognosis.

The sun was shining strongly that day, and the editor and I made the best use of the available electricity by doing lots of cooking, and also some soap making. We make all of our own soap using olive oil, and it is good stuff. Making your own soap is something that you can do in the smallest of homes, and the end product is vastly superior to purchased products.

Freshly made soap curing in silicone trays
Tyrannosaurus soap

The silicone trays are usually used for muffins and cakes. Those trays just work really well for soap making, especially after the soap has hardened but not yet cured and you can peel the tray away from the soap without damaging it.

Once the soap has hardened, you place the cakes on a rack so that they can cure. It usually takes a few months for the soap to cure and so you have to produce a lot of soap all at once, or regularly produce batches a few months ahead of actually needing the soap.

Soap bars curing on this tiered cake tray

Despite it being winter, we’ve begun getting the garden vegetable beds and terraces ready for the next growing season. Paths are being added in the terraces and so more rocks are always needed. I spent about an hour scavenging rocks, and Peak Rocks is real, so that meant going ever further from the terraces to obtain the necessary rocks.

As part of getting the vegetable beds and terraces ready for future planting, the soil in those beds gets fed an enormous quantity of materials. Whilst I was on my way to the doctor, I stopped off at the local garden supplies to pick up the various materials required – having one foot in agriculture made this stop off possible. It was a bit weird as I had to park outside the business and phone in my order, provide my identification and then pay for the order. I had an interesting chat about the effect of the lock downs on small business and we concluded that things were pretty tough right now. After the call ended I was allowed into the parking lot, and a lady brought out various huge very heavy bags of fertilisers on a cart. Seeing how the wind blew, I offered to load them into the car. Crazy days.

Day Five

For various reasons which I won’t go into, one of my clients is allowed to operate during the lock down, and I have a permit to assist them with their work. So I travelled into the city. Memories of having to travel through road blocks manned by the police and military are still fresh in my mind, and the thought of having to provide my identification and the permit papers still gives me the creeps, and did not engender warm feelings towards the authorities. The freeway road blocks were idiotic, because people were simply travelling down the back roads out of the city, simply bypassing the road blocks. There would have been better, easier and cheaper ways to keep city folks out of the countryside, but nobody asked for my opinion.

The city was fairly quiet, and it reminded me of a scene from a zombie film. I was sort of hoping that there actually were no zombies around! Last years longest lock down went on for four months with a strict curfew, and on my visit the folks in the city appeared to be suffering from a pervasive feeling of uncertainty and fear.

Day Six

I’d run low on milk, and milk is an important component of coffee. And coffee is important to daily life, so I headed out to pick up some groceries (and in particular milk) and also check the mail. This is a permissible reason to leave home. For some weird reason, the postal service does not deliver mail to my area. Nobody can explain the situation, and I’m reluctant to commit my energies in a long battle with a Kafkaesque government authority. So my mail is sent to the local General Store and Post Office instead. Fortunately they also sell supplies of fresh milk and so I could continue to enjoy my coffee. The area was like a ghost town.

Once home again I worked on paid work. Since the health subject which dare not be named reared its ugly head, none of my clients have been able to provide me with a full days work. It wasn’t always that way, and I’ve adapted by taking on new work to fill in the gaps. Unfortunately nowadays I rarely know in advance what will be required of me in relation to the work. Will it be an hours work, or six hours work? I can no longer say for sure, and there are days where I’m doing work for up to four different clients, and I just don’t know how long any of it will take. Sometimes the work stretches late into the evening. Unfortunately, my gut feeling suggests to me that we won’t be returning to how things were any time soon.

Day Seven

More paid work. One of the tasks was preparing a payroll, and I’ve heard governments suggesting that they’ll cut through red-tape and make things easier for business. Experience suggests that things are in fact otherwise. In Australia, every single payroll is now reported to the authorities. I spend an inordinate amount of work time administering the governments systems, and I still recall with horror the time when the ‘system’ disregarded the information sent and inserted its own unique and inexplicable information. Zombies are easier adversaries to confront than that particular nightmare.

The afternoon sun was shining gloriously and such a day should not be spent entirely indoors! Instead of working, I spent the afternoon mixing up the 200kg / 440 pounds of various fertilisers and minerals into half a cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of compost. A wheelbarrow, shovel and measuring cup were the only tools required for the job. The mixture was then spread in the second highest and also the highest garden terrace.

Mixing up the compost and fertiliser

Ollie assisted with the mixing job.

Ollie assists with the mixing and spreading of the compost for the vegetable beds

After a few minutes of Ollie’s unhelpful assistance, I replaced him with Ruby who seems far less interested in eating the compost mix.

Ruby is far less obsessive about eating the compost mixture

As part of the work on the terraced garden beds, we’re moving all of the roses from the downhill side of the terraces to the uphill side, and then replanting them at wider spacings. The roses will be better protected from the winter winds, but also the soil on the downhill side of the terraces is actually warmer over the summer months and this will benefit the vegetables that will eventually grow there.

Day Eight

The day of reckoning had arrived as I had to return to the doctor to obtain the details and prognosis of the arm. Turns out I’d bunged the shoulder up right and proper. A bit of ligament damage and plenty of muscle damage. And just for good measure there was a fracture on my upper forearm which had now mostly healed. But the kicker was that the x-ray revealed some age related wear and tear. This getting older business is not all that it’s cracked up to be I can tell you! I have to now see a physiotherapist so as to learn some rehabilitation stretches and strengthening exercises. Could be worse, I guess.

The good news was that with no cases of the health subject which dare not be named outside of the metropolitan area, some minor restrictions were lifted for rural areas, and some new were ones added. We now have to check in electronically everywhere we go on a state government smart phone application. I tell you, George Orwell warned us about this, but never for one second did I consider that the book ‘1984’ would be used as a how to manual – with the added spin that individuals and businesses have to pay for the surveillance. It’s genius really.

With some newfound freedom, ideas of work got ditched and the editor and I went in search of excellent bakery products. Gourmet meat pies and a truly outstanding Lamington appeared to be unaffected by the new surveillance state, and we went for a walk through a local botanical garden. The winter weather was a touch inclement, and we had the entire garden to ourselves, along with the geese of course.

With the reduced restrictions, the local pub was again able to open for business. Later that evening, we went to the pub for a pint and a feed. Masks still had to be worn inside, but once seated we could remove them. The staff looked grateful to be earning money working, and we were happy to support a local business with our patronage. The menu was very limited, but no matter, I was simply happy that they were open for business.

Day Nine

Early mornings are difficult, but occasionally one must bend with the winds. We make a point of cooking from scratch using mostly raw materials, and the same goes for the dogs food. It is not hard to make dog food and dog biscuits and at least you know what is in them. However, time is what it takes to do such things and so most of the morning was spent doing all the little things that needed doing so as to keep the household running smoothly.

Most of my friends live in the city, and they are still subject to serious restrictions. Fortunately we can catch up in the virtual realm, and a bunch of mates had arranged to have a internet chat with the prolific author John Michael Greer. It was such a lovely chat, and Mr Greer is an erudite and gracious person. Despite having conversed on friendly terms with him for over a decade, I was candidly a bit nervous at first. The nerves soon faded, and it was a truly enjoyable couple of hours.

The editors friends are likewise cooped up in the metropolitan area, and so the editor also enjoyed a virtual catch up with a friend later in the day.

Early mornings do me no good (even with coffee) and that evening I slept long and deeply.

Day Ten

For a winters day, the day was warm and very cloudy. We decided to work outside and spent many hours fossicking for rocks for use in the garden terrace paths.

Ollie is excited about the huge number of rocks recovered

With a huge amount of rocks to hand, we completed the rock walls for the path on the very highest garden terrace.

The rock walls for the path on the highest garden terrace are now complete
Looking back from the other end of the highest garden terrace

The left over small and mid sized rocks were placed into the steel rock gabion cage near to the garden terraces. The cage is now almost now full.

The higher steel rock gabion cage at the end of the garden terrace is now almost full

Despite now being officially in winter, a few hardy insects are still out and about.

This huge stick insect was on the ceiling under the veranda
If it is over 10’C / 50’F and not windy, the European honey bees will forage

Onto the flowers:

This climbing Rose is in a sheltered spot in one of the garden beds
Pineapple Sage continues to delight
This Succulent is in flower. There are plans to expand the succulent garden beds
The Canary Island Foxglove is a stunning plant

The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 8’C (47’F). So far this year there has been 465.4mm (18.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 456.0mm (18.0 inches).

57 thoughts on “Love in a time of Corvid”

  1. Hi Al,

    Worked late finishing the rock walls for the path yesterday. Time was then short – as you can imagine. Writing about what actually happened during the week took about 20% more words than the usual missive. On the other hand, some jobs just demand to be finished and we’re really happy with the result of the new paths. The paths have made those garden beds much more pleasant places to be during the wet and cold winter months.

    It is a truism that you get to discover how much effort it takes to run a household when you have to do all of it for yourself. I hear you, and respect! Hope your lady recovers soon and properly.

    The globe artichokes have utterly surprised me with their response to the heavy feeding. Not only have the plants put on lots of leaf matter, they’ve also produced many yummy chokes – it is a favourite vegetable. The kale and purple sprouting broccoli have also responded well, despite them being small seedlings.

    The wind is blowing hard here tonight, so the plants will get thrown around a lot and those that survive will be stronger for the experience.

    I’m unsure what Damo might say, but your software update path matched what he recommended other than angling for a free license for the software. Glad to hear that things have gone well on that front, and a number of software applications are poking me regularly to update from Win 7. I guess Win 10 has been around for long enough to iron out the major flaws. It is a job for later this month.

    I applaud your rescue of the 2011 laptop, and have to confess to still using a 2009 laptop sold to me by a mate who worked in the biz. The old laptop just works and I’m loathed to mess with it but have souped it up over the years with more memory and a solid state drive and a few replacement batteries – and also maybe a replacement for the original power supply which died. It is a bit like granddads old axe – but far out the thing just keeps on going!

    Al, the weather is so variable here that I genuinely don’t know what normal looks like. The next few days look set for a serious taste of Antarctic weather, but after that it will winter warm again. Beats me what normal is for here.



  2. Hi Lewis,

    I had noticed that you’ve not mentioned any additions to your collection of late, but had put that down to the health subject which dares not be named. There are people I know who are happily hiding in their houses despite being at low risk. Overall if I was forced to provide an opinion I’d have to suggest that I am utterly confused by the current state of things.

    The exact same issue is faced here – what are those ones and zeros worth? And there is an old adage which suggest that they are worth the equivalent as to what they can purchase. Now you might think that I’d just dodged your observation as to comfort, but no. As a side story, whenever selling items on the second hand market, I list them for 1 cent with no reserve on the basis that only the market will provide an answer to the question as to what something is worth in mad cash terms. This is otherwise known as price discovery, and you have to agree that it is a lost art in this day and age?

    Hehe! Yeah, you and I will never be able to grow the quantity of grains necessary to produce ones daily bread. 🙂 The next best option in this case is the starches such as potatoes and if grown in fertile soil, and grown well they’ll produce 11% protein, but everything has to be just right for the plant.

    It’s horrific outside right now and the winds are blowing hard. The Antarctic blast is set to arrive over the next few hours, and I just took the dogs outside to do their business and saw an orange flash on the horizon as if something big and man made had suddnely popped. It is weird because there is no lightning on the radar and the glow was orange. It was big though. The sound of the wind making an ‘aaahhh wooo’ sound can be heard outside.

    It is still a bit warm for snow here, but: Snow, flooding and damaging winds on the way. Ook!

    That doesn’t surprise me about the yeast and amino acids, and fermented food is highly regarded stuff. Mind you, I’m not much of a fan of Kimchi, but consume plenty of fermented foods all the same. How are you with Kimchi? Had to laugh about the ‘this tastes like cheese’ because images of chickens came to mind, as in this tastes like chicken!

    Hitting deer or any sorts of wildlife is something I do my best to avoid by driving like a grandmother when on the forested roads. Mind you, there is an older lady around here who is a deft hand with speedy driving and back in the day she could have won a world rally championship. I’ve nicknamed her: Grandma speed y’all. I pull over and let the rare other drivers pass by.

    The religious relics trade baffles me. A few years ago there was a thing for Jesus toast, and I dunno it all seemed a bit weird to me, but if people gain comfort from paying for such items, who am I to argue. Far out, the wind just battered the house hard – fortunately there is a lot of steel in the structure holding it all together. Makes you wonder how the eventual owner of the toast kept it from going mouldy? I’m sure something had to be done with all of those “heads of John the Baptist” to keep them appealing to the public? Logic suggests that they can’t all be the right one. Although if it pleases the public…

    Hehe! Yeah, funny about that, and the allium family readily hybridise, so who knows what the plants really are? So yeah, covering a lot of territory is a neat way to describe the situation. A few years ago I accidentally grew Elephant Garlic instead of the milder tasting leeks and it was a surprise to discover the potency. I’m planning to move all of the leek plants over the next week or so. It is a good time of year to move plants, and a medlar and fig tree have blown over and require being dug out and relocated. The medlar is quite large and I must have planted the crown too high originally – but I don’t really know what is going on there.

    I reckon you’re correct too about the clumping onions. I’ve let a patch of small bulbing onions grow and they soon crowded the space – they may have been called bunching onions whatever that means. Chives are different as they seem to favour leaf growth and I have noticed any bulbs with them. They regrow year after year too. They’re a regular addition to salads.

    Hey, it ain’t just your climate, cucumbers are dodgy and a bit iffy here too. The year they grew really well was a very hot summer. They’re probably hit or miss, which is why your cucamelons were an interesting option. There are some older heritage cucumber varieties, but I dunno. Next year I may just plant more zucchini instead. The space versus yield question is not an easy one to answer, and always I keep throwing around ideas to expand the vegetable beds.

    Did I discover anything of interest? Hmm. There’s always interesting things going on. Did you know that maidenhair ferns grow wild in amongst the larger rocks? I’ve noted a collection of rocks that I want to split and haul down to the utility area and low gradient ramp project. Not far from where the rocks came is a very large and very old grandmother tree – still alive and one of the largest trees in this part of the mountain range. The arrangement of plants around the big tree is a matter to which I’ve allocated a few brain cells.

    The editor and I had an interesting discussion about this weeks blog and whether it was correct to begin the blog by talking about a window without describing which window and where! I was just mucking around with words.

    I wasn’t picking holes in the plot, but that one seemed a bit off. A mate of mine is a gold bug and he has an interesting take on the world. I tend to recall the discoveries of buried chests from Roman Villa’s in Britain, but I might be being a bit critical and it is better if more and different options for the future were pursued.

    The trailer for Average Joe suggested that it was a low budget film, but the premise was pretty good.

    I hear you about iffy weather! 🙂 Tomatoes tell you when they need a drink of water.

    I’m now off to a session of Grand Designs UK. Happy Days! 🙂



  3. Yo, Chris – The kick off to your blog, this week, was nicely lyrical. You could almost set it to music. Or, with a bit of tweaking, turn it into poetry.

    Your continued captivity. Pacing your 4 x 8 cell. Showers once a week. :-). As to the origin of your health problem, I’m glad we have The Editor, to keep you honest 🙂 .

    I don’t know how your National Health Care works, but was that $200 actually “out of pocket”, or does it come out of the 2% you contribute? We’re under the impression here, that National Health is “free.” Taking into consideration that 2% that everyone pays.

    That’s a long time for soap, to cure, taking your cake stand out of commission for a long period of time. Whence afternoon high tea? Might suffer a bit, in the presentation department, if you just have to throw the tasty baked goods, on a plate! 🙂 .

    Well, there are ways to deal with road blocks. Besides driving around. Last week I finished a new mini-series called “Atlantic Crossing.” It’s about the Nazi invasion of Norway. The story revolves around the Crown Princess of Norway, forced to flee with her family. So, they head for neutral Sweden. Where she was from. She is denied entrance, as, passports had been left behind. Couldn’t get good help, in those days, either 🙂 . What’s really going on is the Swedish government, thinks her presence will compromise their neutrality, with the Nazis. She’s a bit of an embarrassment, to the Swedish government. So, she tells her driver to step on it, and they crash the barrier. Later, she and her family are smuggled to England (courtesy of Roosevelt. they had met before the war, and he took a shine to her), and later, onto America, to drum up support for America entering the war. As the miniseries is “based on true events”, I wondered how true that border running bit was. So, down the rabbit hole I went. Yup. Actually happened.

    So, Melbourne looks like a scene from the zombie apocalypse. I wondered if any wag, had staged a few photos, with a zombie. Didn’t unearth any. Other than a lot on the annual Zombie Walk. I wouldn’t worry. Slow zombies are pretty easy to dodge (and, dispatch). It’s the fast zombies you have to watch out for.

    Odd about your lack of postal service. But here’s a puzzler. Our Chehalis Library, which is plunk in the middle of downtown Chehalis, has never had postal delivery. Every day, a minion must walk the two blocks to the post office, and empty out a rather large postal box. This has never been adequately explained, to me, either. Centralia gets delivery, right to the front counter. And it’s across the street from it’s postal branch. Tales of the Unexplained. My Idaho friends, who lived on the edge of their very small town (population 850, so it doesn’t cover a large space) also had to go pick up their mail from the local post office.

    There are rumblings over here, that older phones and even devices, are going to need to be replaced. Due to 5G, or something. Costs and hassle foisted on the users. By the way, someone over at Mr. Greer’s said that one of our payment services won’t work anymore, unless you have a “device.” As I use them, from time to time, I checked into it. I saw something WRONG on the internet.

    Actually, they just want a mobile number. “Smart” phone, or no. I didn’t bother to post a correction. I don’t have to respond to everything I see, on the Net. 🙂 .

    Is Ollie getting enough calcium? Or is he just being a difficult teenager? Eating compost to shock his Dad? Ruby takes more care in choosing her battles.

    Oh, your so lucky to have Mr. Greer, make an appearance. Was it your Green Wizards group? People occasionally mention this or that podcast he’s done, but, he doesn’t do much to promote them. Even though I’m a bit allergic, to podcasts, I wouldn’t mind catching some of his. Yeah, if I met him in “real life,” I wouldn’t know if to bend the knee, or kiss his ring, or what. Which would probably thoroughly embarrass him.

    The rock walls, along the highest terrace walk, looks very smart. I see some Moby Rocks are still with us. They really don’t look all that intrusive, and add a bit of interest. I suppose you could drill a few holes, in the tops, and let the freeze and thaw cycle, do it’s thing. The rock gabions are quit striking.

    The stick insect is really something. I wonder if anyone has ever carved a walking stick, that looked like a stick insect? I suppose the legs would be easily knocked off. Or, catch on things. But, an interesting idea.

    Sigh. The European honey bee. Haven’t seen much of them around, this year. But, there seem to be other pollinators. Picking up the slack and filling the niche?

    The roses are really nice. Ever take a bud, put it in a small vase, and add it to The Editor’s morning tray of coffee and chocolate? Maybe not. She’s think you were up to something 🙂 .

    The succulent flowers are very pretty. We have a few, here, but you have a greater variety. Being a climate zone or two warmer, than us. But onto your epistle …

  4. Yo, Chris, again – And to your epistle …

    As far as Tat goes, I could still be hitting E – Buy, hard. 🙂 . And, there’s an op-shop within easy walking distance. But, I seem to be in a “piling it up in the bank” mode. Just in case. In case of what, I don’t know. But, just in case. I had a rather dismal thought, the other day. I’m building up my estate, so it can all go to The Club. Between what they have, and my infusion, there would probably be enough cash to put a hefty down on their own building. But, given the current real estate madness, that probably isn’t possible, now. Unless the real estate collapses, but money, somehow, retains some of it’s value. It’s depressing. LOL. But by that point, I suppose I really won’t care.

    I’ve got three or four volunteer potatoes, banging along. And, a few more to put in the ground. But I need to do a bit of research, as, they’re always rather small. The small one’s are all well and good, but it would be nice to have a few honking bakers.

    Your weather is getting wild. I see from the article, that forecasting snow there, is about as difficult as forecasting lowland snow, here. Hmmm. I wonder about the orange flash, too. When a transformer blows, it’s usually blue. Though, Australia being Australia … I suppose anything is possible 🙂 . Some kind of non electrical explosion. Plane going down? Space junk? Alien crash landing?

    Yesterday was a pretty steady drizzle … all … day … long. No worries about watering, yesterday. Our forecast for the next week is dreary. Some moisture falling out of the sky, every day. But when and how much? I wonder how the strawberries will do?

    I’ve tried Kimchi. Once. Falls into that area of, there are so many other things, I really like, to eat. Now I do like sauerkraut. Especially with some sausage cut up into it.

    Well, religious relics. All about faith (and, wishful thinking), isn’t it? I suppose, communications being what they were in the past, multiple heads of John the Baptist, might not have been known, to each other. Or, it boiled down to who did the best sales job. “We have the TRUE head of John the Baptist.” 🙂 . As far as images of Jesus on toast, taco shells are also popular. Maybe if you squint, real hard, and have an active imagination. I didn’t watch much of the TV series, “Glee,” but I do remember this bit …

    Toasted cheesus. Works for me. 🙂 . Stranger things have happened.

    Our elephant garlic sounds a bit milder, than yours. Or, maybe it’s just my dead taste buds. Or, a difference in soil. I checked into it, and elephant garlic, even though it is not a true garlic, does have the same nutritional “kick.”

    Space vs yield. Try dealing with only 100 square feet. 🙂 . Unlike you, I’m crowding them in. Like a Japanese subway train. But, with applications of bone and blood meal, and a bit of lime, digging in kitchen scraps … my fertility still looks pretty good. And, compost the heck out of it in the fall. I think this fall I’ll pick up bags of chicken poo. Mr. Solomon seems to think that’s the best all around compost, for our area.

    Grandmother Tree and her minions, seems well worthy of observation. Maidenhair ferns are quite pretty. I once met someone who lived out a ways. It soon became apparent, to me, that they had lost their “notice” of their interesting and beautiful surroundings.

    The other night, when I was out hunting slugs (got 20) I found a snail, in their usual range. Then, way down at the other end of the garden, I found another one amongst a patch of elephant garlic. I gave them a lift home. 🙂 .

    H’s bath was it’s usual joy. But she mixes things up, every once in awhile, just to keep me on my toes. Usually, when I get the tub filled, I find her cowering against the front door … tail wagging. Such a drama queen. So, I went to get her, and she’s not at her usual post. She was in my chair. So, I sat down with her, a few minutes. She hid her head between my leg and the chair arm. “If I hide my head, and close my eyes, you can’t see me!” So like a little kid.

    We’re kind of on a death watch, here. Grandma Gen isn’t the oldest resident (that’s Elinor, by a few years), but she’s lived her, the longest. 20+ years. Pancreatic cancer. Hospice started up, Thursday before last. It will be the end of an era.

    I watched “Rams,” last night. I quiet liked it. Besides the three main characters, the supporting actors were also really good. Which can make a film. When Sam Neil’s character discovers the disease, he looks so spooked. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an actor, carry that particular emotion off, so well. I cheered when the bureaucrat got a shovel to the face. He got of light. Lew

  5. Hi Chris,

    How lovely to sit in the tub and gaze out over the landscape. You really did that shoulder in and now the reality that those of us who are a fair bit older than you, age related wear and tear. I have my own regimen of stretching and applying ice and while it takes some time it sure does help. I think it was one of my sisters observed that maintaining one’s body as we age takes an awful lot of time.

    What does a person do who doesn’t have a smart phone and is supposed to check in. I can’t imagine the reaction in this country of anything like that was imposed.

    Speaking of smart phones, the last two times I was out to eat one had to scan the menu from your phone using the camera or an app. I think the next time I’ll have to pretend I don’t have a phone and see if they have a paper menu.

    Trip to my aunt’s was fine. She is much better but is still having trouble with her voice and hearing in one ear. My daughter, Cecily, came as well and we went out to eat at a place nearby my aunt’s condo. It was very loud and we had great difficulty hearing her and she us.

    Signs of opening up were visible but still very few cabs. The trains were busier but I could still get a seat by myself. My aunt noted that stores that would have been open in the evening weren’t due to the lack of out of town tourists.

    The wedding is about a month away and looks like there will be around 180 in attendance. Doug and I are looking forward to when it’s done. We are looking forward to seeing some out of town friends and family that we haven’t seen for some time.

    Must have been very interesting to chat with JMG. I’m giving his book discussion a whirl this time in the hopes that I’ll get a better grasp of what he and other commenters are talking about.

    Today we got our first rain in about two weeks – about .15 inches. The watering and mulching continues unabated and so far so good. Temperatures are above normal as well. As I’m writing I’m listening to the weather forecast. After a smallish chance of rain the next couple of days the forecast is for dryer than normal the following two weeks.

    Take care of that shoulder.


  6. Hi Margaret,

    It is pretty quiet up here, and the bathroom is one of my favourite places to just soak and think. These days require a bit more than the average level of thinking, and hope I’m up for the challenge. The wood heater keeps the water toasty hot.

    Just did some organised stretching, and that was an interesting experience. Oh well, what was done cannot now be undone and I accept that, but yeah this getting older business is most certainly not all it’s cracked up to be. I’ll keep up the stretching going from here on now, there is really no option not to, and I’m certainly not keen on the surgeons knife. Your sisters observation is very wise. Do you mix around your stretching regime?

    Well, that actually happened to me at the local supermarket and the cashier pulled out some sort of device and checked me in on the state gubarmint application. But here is the thing, this was the same supermarket that had to put bouncers on the doors to stop out of towners from stripping the shelves last year, and I now have a store card where they track my purchases. Crazy days.

    One thing I really respect about folks in the US, is that they wouldn’t willingly put up with such surveillance. Few people down here seem to even be remotely troubled by any of this.

    Yes, I also have experienced the order by your smart phone and a very interesting friend of mine who is an old school hippy managed to circumvent all that stuff and also pay in cash. It is a true mystery as to how he managed it, but he looked well pleased with himself. He’s been a touch out of sorts lately and I really don’t know whether to simply pester him or leave him be? Dunno. I’ve extended the hand…

    Your aunts experience makes my own dramas pale into insignificance. And it was lovely you and Cecily took her out for a feed. Some places have all hard surfaces and the sound reflects so much and so badly that even under ideal conditions the ability to hear other people is compromised. I try to avoid such places.

    Ah, there are times when we all must just grin and endure the experience, and I’m sure that on the day Carla will have a lot of fun – although emotions may be running rather high! 🙂 Two words: Good luck!!!!

    Yes, Mr Greer is a truly lovely person and was most gracious with his time. I genuinely hope that he enjoyed the conversation. Given he has penned something like 70 books, which book are you discussing? He recently authored a book titled: The King in Orange, and what with how emotions run in your country in relation to politics, I can’t imagine your book club reading that particular book? Are they? We’re an apathetic bunch down here when it comes to such matters, and you can see where that has gotten us, so maybe your fellow countrymen have the right of it? Dunno?

    Any rain is good rain at the time of year you’re at. How is the garden growing? An inch of rain fell here today, this year I have plenty and then some to spare. As the old timers used to quip: If it doesn’t rain, it pours!



  7. Hi Lewis,

    Many thanks and that was high praise. The effect I was attempting with the introduction was to sweep the reader along without actually saying where we all were or where we were going. I was pleased with the result.

    Showers are very uncivilised, and did you know that historically they were considered a bit hazardous for your health and also not suitable for women and children? Sometimes though, I just need the cogitation time provided by a bath.

    The editor hasn’t yet said ‘I told you so’ in relation to the injury, but sometimes I see a certain knowing look. It is probably too late for such thoughts and I’m slowly getting into the stretching routines so as to keep me limber and able to dig soil for hours and hours. There is a lot of work which needs doing around here.

    Ah, yes, the $200 was paid for out of my own pocket (and that was the total cost for me). The doctor and radiologist would have also received some mad cash from the government, but recalling the paperwork, it would have been around what I paid or less, but probably less. The 2% I pay gets chucked into a general fund and is not specifically allocated to myself and any overs or unders for the year get paid for out of general revenue. People earning beyond a certain point pay an extra surcharge.

    No, most certainly not! The system was originally ‘free’, but some charges had to be levied to ensure that the system was not abused.

    It is possible that the soap cures quicker than what we think it does, but I’d prefer that it is cured properly. Soap making is easy to do, it is just not an activity for those who suffer from bouts of carelessness. Things could go very badly, but a lot of processes are like that.

    How curious was it that the Crown Princess of Norway visited the upper midwest of your country. I understand that a lot of settlers originating from the north west of Europe had settled there, but still. I see that the author Roald Dahl pulled no punches, but those days would have been strange ones indeed. A very interesting historical character who rose to the challenge in challenging times.

    No, it was all rather disappointing not to see any slow moving zombies (easy to deal with if in low volumes). I’m still chuckling about the plague doctor sighting cheeky scamps in the UK. The doctors in those days would have known serious hardship. Who came up with the concept of fast zombies? John Carpenter’s Dawn of the Dead remake was terrifying in the utter hopelessness.

    You know I have no idea whether libraries would use the postal service or would they use couriers? Do they use the post to ship books around the country? Mate, how much energy do we have to get tied up taking on Byzantine processes? Better to adapt as they’ll consume all of your energy, and also some energy you never knew you had. And even then you might lose.

    Haha! That’s funny! Yes, a personal interweb challenge that needs correcting! How dare they be… wrong. Exactly!

    The thing with Ollie and the compost is that a few weeks back he almost barfed up a chunk of the stuff in my lap. My tolerance is very low now for his foolishness. He’s obsessive about the compost mix and knows not when to stop.

    Twas the Green Wizards group, a fine bunch of folks too. Mr Greer is a prolific author with an exceptional work ethic. I was a bit nervous at first, and I have no idea why that was, but I soon relaxed into the discussion. It was a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours and I hope that Mr Greer likewise enjoyed the chat. The group was super pumped at the experience. I’d reckon Mr Greer would say something like: Lewis, get up off the ground, you’re worthy. 🙂

    Thanks. The rock walls ended up looking really cool. I’ll add in the crushed rock with lime this week and another batch of compost mix. Moby Rocks never go away – I was watching rock blasting videos whilst eating dinner last evening. Always something to learn.

    Sorry to hear about the lack of honey bees, but they aren’t the only gunslinger in town. Something will fill in the gap, but not to have honey is a sad thing.

    Your suspicious mind serves you well, and yes that is a possible interpretation of the editor – rose petal theory. Plus no need to set the bar too high and make a yoke to break me. I was speaking today with a lady about why there would be a need for a 24 hour florist. Might have made the amusing observation: I don’t really want to know why flowers at 3am would be an appropriate response to a situation!

    It is wise to go with your gut feeling as to the mad cash reserves. Hey, the club is a great idea and I’m sure they’d appreciate the funds and put them to good use. It’s a bit of a morbid topic, but from what I’ve heard succession plans are rarely handled well because people dodge that topic. I prefer neat and orderly, but others sometimes like to leave an utter mess behind them.

    Had an inch of rain today, but thankfully the sun shone a bit and the batteries worked their way back to about 93% full. Yay! It was looking a bit dodgy this morning…

    Hmm, potatoes, they be complex plants. I’d purchase some larger seed potatoes if you’re looking for a particular trait like size.

    I couldn’t find any reference to a possible incident causing the brief orange glow. Tell ya what though, the emergency website is showing a whole lot of flooding and flood warnings in the eastern half of the state. It was a big storm and will continue tomorrow and into Thursday.

    The strawberries will appreciate the drink of water, but without the sun, the berries probably won’t ripen. And dare I mention the slugs? Hope you get some sun and soon. Did any of the rain make it to DJ’s and Al’s area?

    Those Germans sure do know their sausages, and yeah a top addition. Plus some onions and mustard. Yummo! Grilled cheesus… Hungry, eat, toastie, yum! Or sell the thing and make heaps of mad cash? So many decisions to have to make in life.

    Feed soil, lots of food. Feed soil. I’m sounding like some sort of hybrid mutant soil food monster, but feed soil. Ugg! Hey, did you see they found the bones of Australia’s largest dinosaur? The owner of the property was on the radio this afternoon talking about the find.

    Really? Well I guess it can happen, and plenty of people live up here and I’m really not sure what they get out of it as they don’t seem to engage with the land. I’ve suspected that the properties are used as some sort of space buffer from other foks, but dunno. The forest is endlessly fascinating and has much to teach us.

    H is a fluffy, so of course she is running complicated experiments upon you. Have you ever thought to ask her about this topic? I avoid such experiments by keeping the fluffies here to mostly rigid routines. Hehe! Yeah dogs can do that trick. It doesn’t work, but they’ll give it a go.

    Sorry to hear about Grandma Gen and may her exit from this life be as peaceful as possible. And may she get to say her goodbyes before she goes. That’s the thing isn’t it? One day you wake up to find that you’re the longest term resident. That is slowly happening to me up here… Life is a bit like that sorry to say.

    Thanks for the review of Rams, and it has been added to the ‘to see’ list. Sam Neil is a great actor. Pedants, can’t live with them…



  8. Hi, Chris!

    I was going to say how very pleasant it was to read your first few paragraphs – and indeed it was! – but, actually, they were exquisite. What wonderful descriptions. And I loved your diary entries. Day by day on the farm.

    Your shoulder injury is quite a problem, and I am glad that you have seen a doctor. I am really happy that he or she did not suggest surgery. My husband has cured a couple of similar-sounding shoulder injuries with exercises and stretches, and myself, also, many years ago when I was walking three of the dogs on leashes in one hand and they saw a deer and exploded. I tore my rotator cuff. It is fine now.

    “Fossicking” – that’s a new one to me.

    Thanks for the winter flowers!

    I may still not have time to check the comments. We shall see.

    Oh, as for Covid: We went through 8 states on our way back and all were pretty loose, many people don’t wear masks anymore and all businesses were doing business as usual.


  9. Hi Chris,
    I was referring to “The Doctrine of High Magic” though “The King in Orange” arrived today. No, my book club would never get into either of those. For the most part they are part of the Bright Greenies – nice people who I’ve known for a long time but a bit clueless in some areas.

    My garden so far is doing fine but we are now in a severe drought so we’ll see. I spend much time watering and replenishing mulch. There was some rain forecast for today but as per usual there will be none.

    Some stretches I do daily others I rotate from day to day. Also do balance poses from yoga and free weights. As I have a number of back issues I apply an ice pack for about 20 minutes twice a day.

    Thanks for the good luck wishes. I think we’ll need them :).


  10. Yo, Chris – An interesting article on unaffordable housing, in resort areas.

    Must be nice to be super rich. At least until the tumbrils start rolling.

    I’m a shower guy, myself. 🙂 . Which age makes a little problematic. No rushing. Hand firmly planted on a grab bar, or elbow against a wall.

    I do 15 or 20 minutes of stretching routines, a day. Mostly for back, legs and to try and get my pot, back to it’s original position. I should really add another 10 or 15 minutes, for upper body stuff. Work the light weights. The old dugs are heading south, and could use a bit of firming up. 🙂 . By this stage, it’s really is use it or lose it.

    Well, the upper midwest is populated by large numbers of Scanahovian immigrants. Such as my mom’s family. Before America’s entry into WWII, there was this idea that they’d rally to the Norwegian cause. It was thought a force could be built up in Canada, to retake Norway. But, it turned out the Norwegians thought of themselves more as Americans. By that time, we’re talking second and third generation, removed, from the Old Country.

    But, they did contribute a lot of money. Martha, the Crown Princess, raised funds to send food through the Red Cross. And, to support the Norwegian Seamen’s Church. There were a lot of Norwegians, that had been injured in the convoys, or, just downright stranded here. She even took quit a few injured sailors into her home. She inspired, by example.

    There have also been plague doctor sightings, on the beaches of California and Florida. My vet friend, Amanda, was doing the plague doctor shtick, well before the epidemic. For Halloween.

    The library has an in-house courier corp, who move books and paper, between the service center and branches. Also, supplies that are centrally purchased. Been there, done that. But the local postal boxes, or delivery, are for things like branch magazine subscriptions, and all the other stuff that ends up in the U. S. mail. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but each branch, depending on size, has a pretty good selection of magazines and newspapers. And they keep back issues, for varying lengths of time.

    I saw that cartoon, over at Mr. Greer’s, awhile back. It’s just so spot on.

    Ollie probably eats the compost, just to irritate you. Like a little kid eating worms. I have to keep H away from the pear tree. Apparently, that’s where the squirrels like to take their picnics, and they’re sloppy eaters. Gosh knows where there little mouths have been.

    Well, if not kissing his ring, maybe the hem of his garment? There were a few popes that were very into having people kiss their shoes. Kinky. Mr. Greer if very admirable, as he avoids that kind of adulation.

    Oh, I don’t find the topic of my demise morbid, at all. Happens to the best of us! 🙂 . I’ve got most of my ducks in a row. Don’t want a lot of fuss. Or, to be a bother.

    Time to get the bird netting, on the strawberries. I got 57 slugs, last night, but saw very few near the strawberries.

    I sometimes throw some peas and onions, into my sauerkraut. Along with a bit of sausage. I think I mentioned, that back when we had pot lucks, one of the ladies had brought sauerkraut. And had carved sections of hot dogs (weenies?), into little octopi. 🙂 .

    I saw the headlines, about your ginormous dinosaur. But haven’t settled in, to read an article. You just never know what’s lurking in the ground.

    H’s grasp of the English language, is pretty good. But complex concepts are still a bit beyond her.

    Oh, dear. I thought you’d already seen “Rams.” Hope I didn’t reveal too many spoilers. I was poking around in dark corners of our library catalog, and guess what I found? “Lapsis.” Already out and circulating. How did I miss that? Let’s see. There are 8 copies, all checked out, at present. There are 4 holds ahead of mine. It’s classified as a “feature film,” so only checks out, for a week. But there are variables. Might be returned early … or late. Transit time. Time it sits on a hold shelf, up to 12 days. So I should see it about … well, you do the maths. 🙂 Lew

  11. @ Lew,

    Thanks for the Wobblies link. Spokane had its share of Wobblies episodes also.

    Ah, yes, residents needing to move to Idaho. A lot of that here, too. In fact, I’ve often called Spokane “West Idaho”.


  12. Chris,

    Before I forget…here’s a link to the top 10 US housing markets since 2017. It includes how much the median housing costs have increased. Note that Boise, Idaho is #1 and Spokane (including the nearby Spokane Valley) is #2.

    Yes, the winds dry things out here abominably, too. I’m trying something new with watering the grass: rather than 2 weekly sessions of 45 minutes, I’m trying a single weekly session of 75 minutes. We’ll see how it works. We did get 2mm of rain early Monday morning.

    Oi, the currawong has one nasty looking beak. A family of flickers resides in the neighborhood. They have long, narrow beaks, also. They eat insects. They’ll come into my yard, find the nests of dread sugar ants, and dig them up with their beaks and have a feast.

    I’m enjoying your diary of Theme Corvid.

    Good to hear that you’re doing the stretches and exercises for the shoulder. Once ligaments damage has occurred, the physical therapy is your best friend. 14 years later, I still do the exercises they told me to do for my knee. Daily. It’s either that or probable arthritis and real pain.

    I like the T Rex soap! That’s cute. I chatted with a boxer several times when the amateur boxing nationals were in Spokane. She has the nickname “T Rex”. She was very personable and friendly, including her nickname with her autograph. She’s rather a good boxer, too. I see tyrannosaurus rex and immediately think of the boxer.

    Eating compost? Bad Ollie! Thordog, whose best talent was being an escape artist, got out of the yard one morning, unbeknownst to us until a neighbor rang our doorbell and delivered him. Thor had gotten into a neighbor’s garbage barrel and devoured nastily decayed remains of someone’s roasted chicken, bones and all. He horked it up in the house and the yard and was lucky he didn’t die. I found out much later that he had hurled a lot of it on the seat of the new car of the neighbor who brought him home. Maybe Ollie is channeling his inner Thordog when eating the compost?

    Our roses are blooming nicely. Some of them are about the same color as the one you pictured this week. A few legumes have sprouted, as have some carrots. Keeping them moist is a real challenge right now.


  13. Hi Chris,

    You tricked me with a bird reference. A scallywag might ask where are the corvids? 🙂


  14. Hi Damo,

    The author doth protest too much me thinks! 🙂 But it’s true. Far out, the weather is feral here today with winds and heavy rainfall, and you look set for a strong low pressure system as well.

    Hehe! Glad you got my little joke. It amuses me to write such stuff, and it heartens me to know that other people are groaning at the word play. No doubt they’re saying something: Oh no, not that rubbish again!!! Hehe!

    I’m reading Stephen Kings epic tome: The Stand. The book is so large that I’m limited as to the places I’ll take it, so I’m thinking I’ll begin reading the book: This is me, or more correctly this is I! By you know whom.



  15. Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for the clarification and Mr Greer is an outstanding author, and I generally find his words to be very clear and lucid. Hope you are enjoying the read, and my understanding is that this book will be discussed for the next four years. Clearly it covers a great deal of ground.

    Ah, of course, lovely people. It is funny you mention Bright Greenies, but between you and I, over the years I have had an inordinate amount of trouble trying to discuss with people the limitation with the technologies that sometimes the wind doesn’t blow at night whilst you are in a drought. The question: Then what are you going to do? just seems to be dismissed as an irrelevance, except that it isn’t. I’ve kind of given up on raising that matter with other people and my life now seems easier for it.

    Yikes. Hopefully you get some rain soon, and in the meantime water and mulch. Is your weather hot as well? As a comparison, the Antarctic blast has delivered three inches of rain over the past two days, with more to come – and the wind, oh my. I worry for the forest and watched a bird hide under a car out of the rain today. There is water everywhere outside. Other parts of the state will be in flood soon. The frogs seem genuinely happy with the conditions.

    Thanks, and yes I too will be doing daily stretching from here on. The yoga and free weights is a good idea as well.

    You’ll all be fine, and before you know it the event will in the rear view mirror, and then they’ll be in the next phase, which candidly takes more effort. We had a really simple garden ceremony so I don’t understand the big social splash thing, but it seems to make people happy. As you would know, it is hard to know who’s ideas you’re enacting and that is one of the great challenges in life. But it doesn’t really matter if people understand that or not, well, anyway that is what my gut feeling tells me. Dunno.



  16. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for taking the time to drop by given everything that is going on in your life. And your words of appreciation were like music to my ears! I write for the sheer enjoyment of the act, but also for the enjoyment of others, so your words are high praise. I really enjoyed how the introduction to the diary entries sounded to my writing ear, plus it was fun to write.

    The shoulder, well let’s face it – as you rightly say – it’s a problem which I’m taking seriously. Your experience gives much hope for the future, and ouch, three dogs on leads have an inordinate amount of pulling power. Glad to hear that the damage finally repaired or is now in a stable and manageable state.

    Lewis looked up the word a few weeks ago and it is some sort of local colloquialism.

    Hopefully the epic winds and rain today don’t knock all of the flowers off their stems. It is feral outside today.

    Interesting and I hope that this is the way of the future. The state gobarmint here has invested a great deal in this narrative – and the pain and pressure is building behind it. Other states have handled things better and I doubt this lot will be returned at the next election, although you never know. The state leader is something of a mystery as he has disappeared from public view. When first I heard about this mystery, I remarked to the editor off the cuff that he’d probably been beaten up. This off the cuff theory is not looking so far fetched now. The official reason was that he took a fall and is now in recovery and he has been for many months. It is all very strange and inexplicable. Strange days.



  17. Hi DJ,

    I’d really like to send you and Al some rain, we’ve had enough for the immediate future anyway. Three inches over the past few days, the wind howls and wind gusts are slamming the side of the house, and far out – everything outside is just wet. The dogs go straight outside, do their business, and then head straight back inside again. Sensible creatures.

    In states which are to the north of here and thus normally warmer, it’s snowing. Thought you might enjoy this article: Unusually heavy snowfall doesn’t even slightly bother Zigge and Casper. 🙂 Thor dog would love the conditions, for a while at least.

    Thanks for the article on your housing. Fascinating and possibly also a bubble. I tend to raise the topic with people nowadays by asking them whether they think that their kids will be able to afford to buy in the area where they grew up? Now of course they may have grown up elsewhere, but most folks miss that logic chopping response, which I’m kind of grateful for. Hey, that is what you get when you expand the money supply. You end up needing more mad cash to buy the thing that used to be cheaper not long before hand. It happens.

    That’s a good idea with the watering regime, and I was wondering if you’ve noticed any difference since you’ve been doing that strategy? I never realised that perfect lawns were a ‘thing’ in your country. It all sounds very competitive and difficult to achieve the really full on results diminishing returns being what they are. I’m not suggesting that is what you’re aiming for, I was just reading about the practice in my local gardening club magazine and hadn’t heard of it before.

    Currawongs are very large birds, as big as crows, and they’ll happily pick apart carcasses and enjoy cherry tomatoes. The Northern Flickers are lovely looking birds, and anything which eats ants is OK by me.

    Thank you and I appreciate hearing that you too are enjoying the words. 🙂

    So how did you damage your knee? There is a story there… The stretches are good and they’re really showing where attention needs to be given.

    Claressa Shields is nonpareil among her peers. What a powerhouse and to not let such success go to her head and retain a personable and friendly demeanour is a pretty awesome combination.

    Thor dog, mate was definitely in the dog house after the chicken and chuck episode. Dogs can be so lovely, and yet at other times so revolting as to be inconceivable in its horridness. Thanks for the laughs! Bad dog!



  18. Hi Lewis,

    The dailybeast has a paywall/subscription wall sorry to say. Ah, Ketchum does have some heavy hitters living there, and skiing for some reason does tend to be an expensive sport. I read that tent cities were being considered. I tell ya what, you wouldn’t want to be in a tent outside here right now, the winds are howling and three inches of rain has fallen in the past two days. The forecast looks set to be even wetter tomorrow.

    The state to the north of here appears to be having similar problems. Homeless campers in state forest a semi-permanent community as rental prices soar . For some unknown reason a lot of heavy hitters have moved into that area and it is apparently very expensive. 6 degrees is 43’F which it barely reached outside here today.

    Lewis, the question I have is: would us two being super rich also corrupt us? I’d like to think not, but do we want to be put to the test?

    As time goes on I can see that a person has to be far more concerned with their immediate environment – and also perhaps reduce the risks that they take. Rolling large rocks uphill on unstable ground is probably a bad idea – just for one item that has been unceremoniously struck from the ‘things to do’ list. Jokes aside, I hear you.

    Getting ones pot back to its original position defies a persons lived experience, but it is probably a worthwhile goal. I’m intending to age disgracefully and just have a fun time of it all whilst that is possible. I’m certain that by the end, the results of the experiment will be in and we’ll all be wiser for the words of wisdom we can both share in this matter – and then people will roundly ignore us both. The daily stretching is a great idea and I will incorporate this into my day – hey for all I know we probably have to do the same thing with our minds…

    I can see how that would come to pass with the Norwegian settlers in the US. It is also possible that they may have wanted to leave the seemingly never ending strife behind them? It is surprisingly common to hear people saying in other countries how they just want to get on and live their life – I’ve encountered that thought expressed in many different places and cultures. I feel very little for my families origins in far distant lands – there is just no pull in that direction. I’d imagine that the closer you were to the original immigrants that the pull would be stronger.

    As a ruler, Martha lead by example and that is a strong position indeed.

    Hehe! That’s kind of funny, and in some ways the plague doctor routine is a good reminder as to where we’ve come from. I read an advertisement on the wall of the doctors about antibiotics and how they wouldn’t be liberally doled out. It would be nice if other industries also took up that challenge. Things were dicey in earlier days.

    Thanks for the explanation. That makes sense and I’d forgotten that libraries used to purchase magazines and periodicals – by subscription, of course.

    The cartoon is pretty funny. 🙂 Comedians can test the social waters so to speak.

    Speaking of worms – and no we didn’t eat it – we had to rescue a massive earthworm earlier today. The rains are bringing them to the surface so they can get some air, and this earthworm somehow became caught in the flow of water in front of the house – yes, there is a small seasonal creek in front of the house right now. Far out, it’s wet out there. H might be eating other squirrel treats too – maybe? Dogs lack discrimination, but with such sensitive noses you’d think they’d know when something is very bad for them?

    Mr Greer is wise to do so, and I’m not into shoe kissing – I’ve seen what goes on at soil level.

    Hehe! That’s funny, and yes it does happen to us all sooner or later. I don’t find it morbid, but feel I have to say that to ensure that other people don’t get all freaked out by the sheer inevitability of it all. Taxes are apparently the other inevitable thing and people seem happy to talk about those.

    A tidy slug hunting operation. Take that ya sluggies!

    True, dogs do tend to struggle with abstract concepts. Like for example Ollie fails to understand that consuming the heady soil mix will make him barf his guts up. A sad lack of understanding, and he misses out on hanging around whenever I’m working in that part of the garden. Oh well.

    No, you didn’t give any spoilers that the trailer didn’t allude to. The guy from the gobarmint looked like a proper pedant – save us from such people! The maths are beyond me at this time of the evening, but I am keen to hear what you have to say about the Lapsis film. It sounds good.

    I leave you with this: Dangerous weather developing in Victoria.



  19. @ DJ – That incident was pretty much stirred up by anti-union sentiment. Which is still strong, here.

    Yeah, a lot of people around here, would be more than happy to join Greater Idaho. With Amond Bundy as their governor. A lot of them just move to Idaho. Or, did. Before the real estate went nuts. Lew

  20. Yo, Chris – Ack! Sorry about the paywall. I try and avoid linking to them. There’s a couple of sites that tried that, recently. I just avoid them, for a few days, and they came to their senses. Can’t charge much for advertising, if your readership numbers, plunge.

    Thanks for the article on the homeless folks, I read one about our patch, the other day. The entire West Coast is turning into one big tent city. It’s interesting that the East Coast, has it a bit better. The difference seems to be that they made more of an effort, to keep people sheltered. It’s one of the big fears, among us oldsters. I saw a documentary, a few years ago, about people living in abandoned subway and utility tunnels, under New York City. Interesting how people adapt, when needs must.

    I don’t think you or I need concern ourselves much about becoming super rich. Unless you uncover huge dinosaur bones on your patch, and send them to auction. 🙂 . I read about your newly discovered big fella. Some news outlets are calling it, “The Lizard of Oz.” 🙂 . Interesting how hard it is to find dinosaur bones, in Australia. Due to the lay of the land. No weathering out of hill sides.

    One becomes aware of becoming invisible, as one ages. Not such a bad thing. Makes it easy to fly under the radar. I forget what it was in relation to, but I told Elinor she could always play the “confused old lady” card. Got a laugh. She knew exactly what I was talking about.

    Speaking of Elinor, she finally got her plumbing fixed, yesterday. After a year of fooling around. The same local outfit, that fixed my tub. I hope it’s a trend. She’s had ongoing problems with her cistern, shower and kitchen sink. I do think it might have been resolved earlier, if she’d been more of a squeaky wheel. I’ve started keeping copies of the work orders I put in (which are dated.) I also put “cc: file,” in the lower corner. Just to let them know, I’m tracking response. And, I’ll put them in with “second … third … ” whatever, notification, at the top.

    I also got back another couple of papers, that I had supposedly, not signed and returned. Interesting. They always seem to be predated. So, I’ve started “correcting” the dates. I’m not keeping copies, but have decided to log what comes in and goes out. They want to play? I can play. 🙂 .

    Elinor is at the dentist, this morning, so I’ve got a little visitor. Suffering from her usual low-level separation anxiety. A bit of pacing and whining around.

    Well, the sheer inevitability of shuffling off one’s mortal coil, is pretty in your face around here. Kind of hard to escape. Seems like we’ve had a lot of turn over, since I’ve been here. But, it’s hard, for me, to track.

    Wow. Your weather does sound wild. Here, it looks like we’re going to have a lot of overcast, and a will it or won’t it, rain. Oh, well. In a month it might be sweltering, and we’ll look back on these days, fondly.

    I settled in to watch “Beautiful Fantastic,” last night. And got the dreaded “Will not play in your region.” Haven’t seen that in awhile. Had the popcorn all made, so I watched a couple of U-Tub archaeology videos. Can’t let a good bowl of popcorn, go to waste.

    Master Gardener’s came yesterday. I got Elinor’s tomatoes and eggplant in the ground. She insists she told me, days ago, that I could plant them. Well, no. But I’m not going to argue. I see I’ve got a tomato, on two of my plants. Little green things.

    The MG’s did see my 11th hour e-mail, on the missing plastic weeding buckets. They brought more. But, apparently, someone thought that area needs to be kept a bit clearer. So, they did a bit of re-organizing. I quipped that Lazy Shiftless Jack, probably needed the space for another refrigerator box. 🙂 . Got a laugh. Lew

  21. Hello Chris,
    What a beautiful corvid entry. Who knows what the magpies really see? They are a clever bunch. Do you have the Eurasian Jay on your continent? We have them here in Holland and they are very intelligent and cunning. They even plant acorns and come back to eat the first leaves that come out of the seedling, (which supposedly the seedlings handle well, due to some co-evolutionary coincidence). Gardener birds.

    Regarding the bright greenies, I was one myself. I am a recovering techno-narcissist, so now I cringe when I hear other people use the phrases that I used to say back in the day. “We are almost there!”, “Everything is getting better” etc. etc. It hurts. And I am a bit ashamed of myself, for not realizing earlier what is going on. Well, each of us has to travel his/her own path, I guess.

    I envy your wet weather. We have had no precipitation for two weeks in our area, and nothing expected in the subsequent fortnight. It is dry in the lands and 27C in the shade. Every day I am watering some plants… The trees need some love and care in their first two years in the ground, afterwards they are quite robust.

    Regarding the super-rich, I think they are starting to panic. The “great reset” of the Davos crowd sounds to me like a soothing surveillance state to actually increase the pressure and keep the caste system as is. No one in that crowd seems interested in reducing the differentials and stabilize the situation. Part of the problem with the religion of Progress is that “this time it is different”, so learnings from history are few and far between.

    Wish you both strength and perseverance for this round of open-ended captivity!


  22. Hi Chris
    The new walkway is very well done. Awaiting the light colored lime (calcium rich?) crushed rock. Your available daylight time is still shrinking. Your inter path stairs need some sturdy steel tube hand rails in case any “ older types “ are around the Farm wink! Wink!?

    Win 7 to Win 10 pro:
    When I got the initial screen on Win 10 I wanted to play. So I loaded Word Perfect which I had full license to. It started loading then the windows 10 program opened a settings window and wanted to search for updates. I minimized that screen and went back to my program loading. Shortly I got back to a Home Screen which said I was in Windows 10 Home not Windows 10 PRO I PAID FOR!!?.
    This was kind of like if you ordered front row Tickets 20 feet from where Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler would be playing together in The Austin Texas Guitar Extravaganza
    at $500 each and instead received back row cheep seats. GRRRR,!

    I asked The cartoon windows help person for a telephone call back option. I got a real live helpful person on my phone. He took remote control of the laptop and restarted the download from the USB cartridge that I bought. Within a few minutes he said the program sent had been on the shelf for so long that he had to make some special commands to make the program load the Pro version I paid for. Then the new program would commence some lengthy down loads and would then be current. And so it went and Windows 10 PRO now lives here.
    To day it wanted another update which took two hours to complete! My recommendation is to copy all your business data to dvd storage and give the the target laptop time to get current.
    If you have someone in your client base that is win 10 savvy hire them ! That kind of important usage is of course your family livelihood. When I chose the Pro version to bail myself out a problem on the then new desktop that was directing me go into the resident DOS land where I never wanted to visit again. ? Windows 10 was at that time only a few months old and not modified much yet I guess.

    I get my new 16 gig Dram boards soon which should come close to top obtainable capability for the aging but seldom used laptop. Oh and maybe a new LiFePO4 battery if anyone has fitted them into that particular laptop footprint. Hehe. You never what the Ole bald headed River man has in his general store hee!haw!
    Cheers .

  23. Chris,

    Dogs etal are much smarter than humans. They know when to get out of the weather, sleep, stay in the shade during the hot spells, etc. Humans? Ummmm, not so much. Something about knowing one’s limits?

    Oh, thanks for the snow article. Those Samoyeds remind me of Rakhi the Samoyed. She lived for the snow and cold weather. The only time I ever saw her make a concession to the cold: twas -26C with a sustained 25 km per hour wind. She was asleep in the shade on bare concrete with her tail over her nose due to the wind. Only time I ever saw her tail cover her nose.

    Yes, there is a clear bubble aspect to our housing costs. In addition, several advertising agencies have been touting Spokane in a vigorous ad campaign in the greater San Francisco/San Jose area for a few years. Nice place to live, decent sized city, little traffic congestion and “cheap” housing. The lion’s share of the price increases started when those ad campaigns started. We could use an epic cold and snowy winter to send them somewheres else.

    I’ll let you know how the new lawn watering idea works later this summer. Had a few trickles of rain before I got up this morning. So the 2 day total is a dab over 2 mm officially. At least it knocked the pollen down for a bit.

    And lawns? It makes no sense to have high maintenance, water guzzling bluegrass in an area that averages 40cm of rainfall per year. Some of my lawn, in areas that I neglected watering a few years ago, had some native grasses seed themselves. They need less water and green up the moment they get water. The trick is getting that stuff to “invade” in the first place.

    The Knee Story. It was December 6, 2006. First day my friend and I were downhill skiing that season. We decided to do one last run before lunch. I started up, caught a ski edge, and down I went. Because I was barely moving, there wasn’t enough momentum to make the ski bindings pop loose from the boots. I wore a helmet complete with ear flaps, and I could her my knee popping through the helmet. Result: torn meniscus, partially torn MCL, partially torn ACL. Due to events outside our control, I was able to get the meniscus damage removed, but not the “gold standard” surgery to replace the ACL. The MCL repaired itself after about 6 to 8 weeks. So, I have a partial ACL and some permanent loss of the spongy, cushioning meniscus.

    I went through 2 rounds of physical therapy (PT). The therapist both times was a woman whose high school basketball career I had followed. She was superb at PT also. Basically, I need to keep the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and abdominal muscles very strong AND limber. Squats and lunges are my friends, as well as some ab exercises PT Gal showed me. She also suggested that taijiquan forms would be perfect, as long as I was doing proper body mechanics and positioning. I had been doing taijiquan forms for over a decade, but have had to relearn them, as 98% of instructors worldwide appear to ignore some basics of knee/hip body mechanics, which could easily lead to injury issues.

    So, I have a quiver of exercise routines that I go through each week. 2 days a week is 48 lunges, 48 squats (usually in sets of 12), isometrics for the upper body and core, followed by about 18 minutes of stationary breathing exercises in multiple postures. (Yoga inspired but definitely not yoga and tailored to what my body needs.) 3 days I do full body moving stretches as warm ups then taijiquan forms, interspersed with squats and lunges. The other 2 days I do a series of exercises I concocted that incorporate taijiquan moves, a few old Goju Ryu karate moves and some other things, including squats and lunges. The ab exercises PT Gal taught me end each and every session prior to a finishing short stretching routine. Those are my morning routines, lasting 25 to 35 minutes. Most days I will do any of the above (except isometrics) in the evening, with a goal of 45 to 60 minutes a day total.

    Most of the boxers we conversed with had similar demeanors to Claressa’s. Respect for people is something the boxing gyms taught from the very first lesson. Plus, the boxers were genuinely happy to have non boxers come to watch them and interact with them. As a result, there was one year of Nationals here in which another eventual Olympic boxer, Mikaela Mayer, asked me to be her “official” photographer for Nationals. Voluntary and free, but I was more than happy to do so. She’s now a total animal as a professional. So naturally, several other boxers heard about that and asked if I could email them any good pictures I took of them. That was a lot of fun.

    The final year Nationals was in Spokane (2015), one of our favorite guys, Jose Alday Jr, looked for us in the bleachers. We were big fans of his. He had us watch his stuff during his preparation and match. He was an Olympic hopeful, but took a freak blow to his nose that very first match, breaking it. He was in pain and agony, his father/coach was despondent. I grabbed his stuff and went to the “participants only” area behind us, helped him take off his gloves and shoes. All the coaches knew who I was by then, so they didn’t care. (Heck, the coaches looked for the Princess, me and 2 other guys each year as soon as they got to that venue. All 4 of us chatted with the coaches too.) Helped with his nose until the medic room was clear from another injury and ready for him. He went from there straight back to Texas.


  24. @ Lew,

    Spokane is still sorta anti-union, too. All the gummint employees where I used to work are union. Our union’s business rep, the hired gun, once asked me to run for county commissioner as a democrat on a pro-union, pro gummint employee platform. I told her I didn’t need to deal with the probable death threats. That was 20 years ago.

    Ah, yes, Ammon Bundy. Bleeping bleep of a bleep, he is like a10th cousin and 12th cousin. My maternal granmother’s family were Quakers, on 2 occasions in early 1700s marrying a Quaker Bundy. When there was a Quaker migration from NE North Carolina to Henry County, Indiana, the Bundy family stopped in Orange and Washington counties farther south. I don’t claim anyone named Bundy as being a true relative. 😉


  25. Hi Lewis,

    No worries at all, and I’ve noticed in recent years that more and more of the stuff that used to be free on the interweb, now hides behind paywalls, or has a limited number of reads per month. One of the news services in the big smoke uses that trick.

    I noticed that the land of stuff has cracked down hard on crypto money things and consequently the people involved in that game. That should send some shivers up the spines of folks who forgot that the gubarmint can put a stop to such monkey business should they decide to do so.

    The storm over the past few days has been somewhat epic in the trail of destruction. Some cheeky wag commenting on a news website remarked that with the extreme weather and the health subject which dare not be named: ‘The gawds have forgotten us in this state’.

    That may be so, but the punters haven’t forgotten the heady heights which us lot down here once traversed! The area of the big smoke where the editor and I (if in town) head out for dinner has been proclaimed the coolest street on the planet. I’d like to think that we’re cool, and that may even be true, but what was true was that there is never a dull moment on that particular street: Melbourne’s Smith Street named coolest street in the world. Didn’t think the area was that cool though! 🙂

    It is possible that winters on the east coast would be far more harsh than in your pleasant part of the country? Mind you, up here I’ve heard of hermits and know a couple of folks who pretty much keep to themselves, but those folks have shacks or homes and being homeless up here would be a seriously tough ask. But you’re right, people are really adaptable to harsh conditions.

    My understanding is that the soils in this part of the continent are acidic and fossils simply melt away over the ages. Even weak acids can destroy such ancient things given enough time. The problem with getting super rich is that it would probably come via way of some horrid event like the old story of The Monkey’s Paw. Of which I believed was attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, but alas I’m now more confused than I was but only a few minutes earlier. Money doesn’t grow on trees you know – it’s all plastic and polymers these days.

    I was at the feed store this morning and the storm had ruined their electrical switchboard. The bloke behind me in the queue was dismayed to discover that plastic will not pay for grains and he left the store – forlorn. Rather cheekily I suggested that we could go old school and promptly handed them the cash and advised them to keep the change (under a dollar).

    Being invisible is no bad thing really. I mean you get to slide under the radar and just do your own thing and think your own thoughts. The pressure to conform and measure up is hardly worth the effort, but if it makes people happy who are we to argue with them?

    Did I mention the epic storm? Less than twenty minutes of peak sunlight for two days and I’ve now got the generator chugging away on the other side of the wall. The batteries were below 50% charge this morning, and are probably still somewhere in that vicinity. Rumour has it that you can take the batteries down to 20% charge, but I’m not keen to see what happens at that point. A couple of very large trees have fallen here, and there is some flooding in the valley below. The ground here could best be described as squelchy and there is water everywhere – even in puddles and oozing out of the clay. I reckon we’ve had enough rain for a few weeks. The more fashionable end of the mountain range lost their power and I was intending to travel to the pub this evening, but err, no.

    I applaud Elinor’s stratagems and employ a similar one when asking for assistance: Country yokel. It works a treat, plus I just enjoy playing the role. 🙂 It amuses me greatly to do so. Great news that Elinor’s plumbing misadventures were repaired. It is a bit shameful to leave such things for so long. Mate, to play the game, you have to know the rules – if you don’t know the rules, you can’t play the game. And your response is a classic Sun Tzu move. Like it.

    H is a sensitive fluffy and as such knows deep down when the patterns are wrong. Oh yeah, she is onto that business. Dogs love their patterns, and I have a suspicion that most people do as well. I certainly do, although when required novelty can be adapted for – like not going to the pub this evening due to power outages.

    Victorians count the cost after violent storm sends trees crashing through homes.

    Even a few fruit trees are now far from vertical. I might dig them up and relocate them to drier ground. I’ll do that on the basis that if it has happened once, it’ll happen again. So much water, everywhere…

    That makes sense, and life’s inevitable exit is sometimes also a good reminder to remember to live whilst we can do so.

    I watched Beautiful Fantastic maybe a year ago and really enjoyed it. The film was quirky and fun, also I believe that the female protagonist went through an initiation process as part of the larger narrative of the film. And yes, popcorn should not go to waste! 🙂 There’s always Grand Designs UK, but try as I might over the years, I must say that my efforts have come to naught!

    Top stuff with the tiny green tomatoes. They’re insect pollinated so that is a really good sign too (the European honey bees can’t pollinate tomato plants).

    Hehe! I can’t imagine he’d dump another refrigerator box there? Far out! Hey, I commenced reading Mr King’s tome The Stand, yesterday and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. It’s gritty and I really enjoy the characterisation as I form a sense of who these characters are. Of course, they’re all mostly going to die, but this fate is shared by all. I love the innocuous way Captain Tripps spreads.



  26. Hi Goran,

    Thanks! And so many people seem to be discussing the health subject which dare not be named that I’m wondering who is now considering the birds? 🙂 Yeah, we can’t ever really know what they see, but the magpies here will come and seek me out if they need my help with a fox or other nuisance. They’re intelligent creatures that’s for sure. Ah, a jay is a Corvidae. No, those particular birds are not present on this continent, although they are notably widespread across the planet. It amazes me at the degree of integration there is between birds, insects and animals and the plant community which makes up a forest. The jays are amazing.

    Hehe! Mate, it happens to the best of us! 🙂 I’ll tell you a funny story. When we first constructed the house I believed that 8 x 190W solar panels would produce plenty of power – I mean the sun is in the sky for hours and hours even over winter days. Yeah well, the technology is not that simple and 42 solar panels later, I’m running the generator today for the first time with these new batteries. Yesterday and today provided barely 20 minutes of peak sunlight due to an epic storm. There is water everywhere here and it is oozing out of the ground.

    27’C in the shade sounds kind of nice to me right now (sorry for the lack of empathy!). There are trees down all over the place now and some of the fruit trees fell over (the ground became too saturated and the high wind speeds did the rest). That is the thing with trees in that you have to get them through their first year or so and then they’ll be fine. I usually plant in early winter and the winter rains give them a good head start, but it is warmer here at that time and so the root systems continue to grow.

    The great reset sounds like a bad and particularly unimaginative sci-fi novel. Given my experience with bureaucracy, I’d worry that they’d send me the wrong pair of undies, or that they’d failed to clean them before sending them. Exactly, the ‘this time is different’ sounds like a lullaby to my ears too. History suggests that things are otherwise.

    Hope your garden is going well despite the dry weather, and that the trees are just growing strongly. 🙂

    Thanks for the kind wishes. And I wish you and your family good health and prosperous times.



  27. Hi DJ,

    Yes of course, dogs are awesome, except when they’re not so awesome, and then they are just kind of sub-awesome – you can almost sense the awesomeness there, but current behaviours or previous actions diminish the general level of awesomeness that would otherwise be there. I think I just confused my brain with that last sentence! 🙂 Hey, what did they used to say about mad dogs and Englishmen?

    Far out, -26’C with wind chill sounds horrific and Rakhi the Samoyed was one smart dog to have used her tail to protect the unprotected nose. And here is me whingeing about a mere 115mm of rain, 90km/h winds, 6’C temperatures and much damage in the forest. 🙂 I lost a few big trees and I’ll wait a few weeks for it to dry up a bit before cutting them up for firewood. Some of the fruit trees were flattened. Oh well…

    Really? It is amazing how that marketing stuff works, but all the same it does. All bubbles burst, how, when and why are the really tough questions to know the answers for in advance. Best not to be involved in that game a simple approach to the dilemma. Things can change and the big smoke of Melbourne has lost its crown of most liveable city on the planet for obvious reasons.

    Due to the sheer lack of sunlight I have the generator running tonight – a very noisy beast, but super reliable so one must not complain.

    Even 2mm of rain makes a difference to air quality. I hate it when the smoke builds and builds – and you’d get that in your part of the world too. The rain at least washes the air clean.

    Hehe! They sell bluegrass and ryegrass species down here too. Summers are tough on such plants, and they simply dry up and bounce back again later when conditions are right to do so. And absolutely, finding the local grass seed bank is not as easy a thing to do as you’d imagine. Some of the local grasses here clump but stay green over the summer, but they’re big plants and would have deep root systems.

    Thanks for the knee story. Ouch. Skiing is tough on your knees, but accidents skiing are even tougher as you discovered. I’m not sure what the gold standard would be, but I’ve heard that such surgical repairs have finite lifespans and may not be repeated more than twice, but I’m no expert and only listen to what people have remarked to me over the years.

    Thanks also for the details as to your physical therapy. And yes, I hear you about the yoga as there is no one size fits all, but at the same time I respect the yoga stretching and given what you and others are telling me, you just more or less have to do what works.

    Respect for people is a great idea for boxers to learn. It is possible that a good boxer would not ever lose their cool as they would lose focus and that would be a bad thing and probably present a lot of easy mistakes for their opponent to take advantage of.

    Hehe! Nice one. Out of curiosity, what sort of camera did you use?

    Well yes, a person can suffer misfortune no matter how proven they were/are. Ouch.



  28. Hi Al,

    Yeah thanks and I’m hoping to get some of the locally quarried crushed rock with lime onto the paths. It’s a bit wet outside right now though due to a huge storm which swept up from the frozen continent of Antarctica. It is genuinely rare to see so much water all over the place and the river at the bottom of the valley looks like it is swelling.

    Like the suggestion for the hand rails!

    Ouch! And double ouch! At least you could speak with someone who could resolve the problem, I mean you paid for the Professional version and not the home version. Hey, I’d like to hear Mark Knopfler play the instrumental local hero with some serious backing from an orchestra. 🙂 Glad to hear that it is working. Mate, I’m yet to commit as Win 7 is cosy and known…

    Had to crank out the generator today to get some charge into the batteries. 20 minutes of peak sunlight for 2 days in a row will do that! The charger I’m using is only putting out 11A rather than its rated 18A because the voltage settings inside the charger are set for lead acid batteries rather than the newer lithiums. Oh well, better get a new charger as it is very wasteful of the generators output (it is a 3.4kVA generator rated at 0.8pf to 2800W continuous output). Sent off some query emails earlier this evening about potential products.

    Nah, I’m a sucker for punishment and will happily do all of the IT work for our business. Put it this way: I like to understand what is going on with the various bits of the system so that if something goes wrong, I can fix or repair it. As a teenager I taught myself 6510 machine language on the Commodore 64 computer, but I never pursued programming as a career because i was not good at the math side of that programming. And back then, there were no math modules / hardware and all the machines could do was basic arithmetic – and math was required for the graphics side of programming. We’ve come a long way since those days, but the software is rather bloated.

    Oh, you’ll love it with the extra memory. It makes a huge difference. Hehe! Yes, sometimes a person does occasionally need to immerse themselves in the river of stuff. 😉 I hear you.



  29. Chris
    It’s time to talk geek to geek. Sometime back. I mentioned MeanWell Au for battery charging. I have no connection or interest in their company. But was once a recommender of their stuff on one of my private business projects. And was very impressed with their power supplies.

    Look at the BRU-3200 front end battery charger (and other models )250 vac in 48 Vdc out . Representative in Victoria , can talk to you and your battery supplier. You bought some of their dc- dc converters converters for something that you mentioned .
    Anyway. The products worked out for me and my client.
    Good luck

  30. Hello Chris
    Just to say that I am still here and enjoying everything that you write plus the comments from others. I just seem to be appallingly busy. How do others keep up?

    Look after that shoulder.


  31. Hi Chris
    MeanWell DBR-3200 -48
    55 amps per unit 250 VAC input
    I meant well ?!

  32. Yo, Chris – Once more into the breach … half a league, half a league, half a league onward, into the valley of death … Ooops! Carried away there, for a moment. 🙂

    Wow! That’s some storm you had. Chickens and bees all ok? Solar panels? Water tanks?

    Just to take your mind off what’s going on outside, for a moment, there’s News of the World! I saw two articles that had to do with your fine country, and ours. There was a cyber hack on an international meat packing concern (JBS). Apparently, they’re heavily invested in both countries. And, in a joint effort between our FBI and your law enforcement, they engineered a sting that brought down hundreds of crims, world-wide. Tons of drugs and bales of money, were seized. It was called “Operation Ironside.” Not to be confused with a WWII covert operation, by the same name. Have we reached peak names for covert operations?

    A large chunk of the Net, went TU, for about an hour. There was a short article about it …

    Later, it was discovered that one (1) customer of this “service” had legitimately reset their system. Hilarity ensued.

    And, from our Far Out! Department, comes news that our State liquor, etc. department, is permitting Mara-hochie stores, to offer one free pre-rolled joint, if you get the jab. Wonder if it’s the good stuff?

    Paywalls. Or, metered viewing. The last I can usually get around, by simply clearing my history and caches. And, it’s not as if there isn’t a lot of other stuff, to look at, on the Net. Last night I watched a “Digging for Britain,” I hadn’t seen. It was a hour long special, just on the Roman calvary, along the wall. Interesting stuff.

    That was some storm. You’ll have firewood, for years. And burning off the duff ought to provide lots of nice wood ash, for your soil. “Eenie meenie chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak.” I see … I see … Tree Dudes in your near future! 🙂

    At least, your fruit trees are pretty much in their dormant stage, now. They ought to take a bit of bashing about and replanting.

    I hate it when some bright bulb cranks out “Best of…” lists. Then the place gets overrun with punters. Prices will go up (and, why not? Make hay while the sunshines.). But some of that, I think, is just for crowd control. The Editor and you might have to find another almost cool area, until the excitement dies down.

    I think your wise, not to push your batteries. Testing limits might lead to unnecessary wear and tear.

    Dogs and their patterns. That’s why I’m a bit miffed, that Elinor has tossed in another walk for H. Some days, she doesn’t get it, and the time is not consistent. Throws off her digestion.

    I saw a trailer for a new sci-fi, that looks interesting. “Infinite.” Well, at least there are cool explosions.

    Didn’t do much in the garden, yesterday, between rainstorms. I did water the tomatoes. Having been recently transplanted, and still getting a grip, they need a bit extra. I put netting over the strawberries. D____d jays! There are a few runners, that have escaped the raised bed. They can have those. The bird netting is like wrestling alligators. But, something “interesting.” On the package, it said it was 7’x20′. No. More like 7’x12′. Luckily, I only needed 7’x10′.

    Mr. Lewis’s (The Big Short) book on You Know What, is in transit, to me. I’ll probably pick it up, next week. Lew

  33. @Pam

    So glad to see you back. Hope your parents settle in without too much difficulty.


  34. Hi Chris,

    Quite a storm you had. We’ve had no thunderstorms all spring which is very unusual. I looked at the US drought map and west of the Mississippi it seems drought conditions are almost everywhere. Then a narrow area encompassing southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois is also included in the drought area. Not far south of us rain seems to be occuring much like normal.

    Had I not stumbled onto JMG’s blog years ago I could still be a Bright Greenie too. I do throw out a few things to my book club such as “The Religion of Progress” and there was a glimmer of understanding. That’s about the best I can do.

    Today our Jr. High retiree group met in person for the first time in 15 months. One of the guys asked if anyone had that which cannot be mentioned. No one had and his theory was that as teachers we had years of exposure to all kinds of viruses. One of the older teachers early on in the pandemic had a stroke and was found lying on the floor after about a day. He’s been in a facility that specializes in stroke rehab ever since. He recovered fairly well except for his speech – he just couldn’t talk much and this inability really got him down. For months no one was allowed to visit nor was he allowed to leave his room. This ended fairly recently and his partner, another teacher, reported that once he could get out he rapidly improved. We were all surprised and pleased that he attended this morning. He is having trouble with communicating often having to spell the word that he’s trying to say but all and all he’s doing very well and will be able to leave the facility soon.

    Still no rain in sight and hot too.


  35. @Lew

    Like HRH, Salve also suffers from separation anxiety even though she’s been with us for years. She had chewed many items including stairs in her early days. We thought she was pretty much over it but after a year of us mostly being at home we found that was not the case. The first time we left for a few hours she chewed the moulding around one of our doors and did quite a job of it so it’s back to the crate for her. Fortunately she doesn’t mind it and as soon as she gets wind of our immiment departure she just gets right in.

    Leo, who is 13, always gets depressed when Doug leaves. Now he’s a bit senile so he just wanders around the house crying.


  36. @ Margaret:

    We took take-home restaurant food umpteen zillion times while we were away. I was able to order every time from a menu in the restaurant, though very few had printed menus one could take home.

    We have only had one rain for the past 2 months. Our garden is really struggling.


  37. Chris,

    Mad dogs and Englishmen, indeed! Well put.

    You summed up a lot of life with your paragraph about the wind. You’re adapting by taking advantage of the lost big trees, as their use as future firewood looms. Your “oh, well” response to the loss of some fruit trees is grand acceptance. I know my first responses to that event wouldn’t be printable here, but I’d get to that place eventually, and much quicker than in the past.

    Lost in that is that your weather WAS extreme. +6C with heavy winds and heavy rains is NOT nice weather. Seriously, I’ve always felt colder when outside in extreme storms similar to what you just had rather than at the -26C with wind. Warm clothing with an outer wind resistant layer works fantastically during those Arctic events. That wet cold at +6C gets into the bones no matter what one tries. And with wind too. That is serious hypothermia weather, and actually kills more people in this general region than get killed by Arctic weather. The wet cold does it.

    I’m fortunate that I can sit back and ignore the real estate bubble. All assets seem to be bubbling now. We could get one another worked up about MMT again, but to what point? 😉

    3 cheers for the generator! One of those things you don’t want to have to use, but it’s good to have when it is needed.

    The “gold standard” is a new ACL. One of the engineers I worked with got her degree via full paid basketball scholarship. She was a very good softball player, also. She blew an ACL, got it replaced. 15 years later, circa age 40, the pain and arthritis started. Here’s the catch: whereas I make doing the proper exercises for knee health part of my daily routine, she gained a ton of weight and didn’t regularly do the required exercises once rehab had been completed. Doing things per the PT Gal’s directions adds life to the knee and/or any replacement parts.

    Glad you enjoyed another take on exercise, etc. One size does NOT fit all. We’re all different.

    Oh, you can tell when a boxer has lost his/her cool! Sloppiness ensues. The respect these youngsters were taught is similar to what one is supposed to learn in karate, taekwando, etc. Except the karate school I attended eons ago was taught by a guy who didn’t really have that respect and self control himself. I didn’t stay there very long once I realized that.

    In 2011 we scheduled a long vacation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, so we could attend a giant powwow called Gathering of Nations. At that time it was held at The Pit on the University of New Mexico campus. The huge basketball arena.
    We knew we’d need a good camera that had a good zoom in lens and could take quality photos indoors. We bought what was then a very high end Canon. The telephoto lens worked awesomely.

    I used the same camera at the amateur boxing events in Spokane. It also had a “rapid” setting, which I used extensively during boxing matches when they were here 2012 through 2015. I got some very good photos with that camera. Then technology allowed us to get a much smaller, more easily portable camera that was very nearly as good.

    I still want to go back to my Nikon with Kodachrome. 😉


  38. @ Lew,

    Hahaha! You got me. I’ll claim Al Bundy as a long lost distant rellie. 🙂


  39. Hi Al,

    Geeks of the world unite! 🙂 I’m a fan of Mean Well electronics and have had good experiences with their gear in the past, and so that was exactly where I headed. Incidentally, the choices were rather limited for this battery pack voltage arrangement – and some of the chargers were crazy expensive.

    Mate, I had to do something as the backup of a generator at times like these ,makes the difference between having the lights on, or not. The batteries are too small in capacity to go for days and days, and too expensive to have more capacity than I currently do have.

    There’s a lot to like about the BRU-3200 unit. Unfortunately my 3.4kVA generator won’t run it. Ook! I dug deep into savings and ordered this unit instead: MEAN WELL 55.2V / 27.5A Battery Charger. You will note that the charging voltage can be raised to 58.6V which will work very well with the lithium batteries.

    Once it turns up and I get the unit installed, a full report shall follow!



  40. Hi Inge,

    Nice to hear from you and I do hope that the weather is now properly warmer for you as befits the sort of expected summer conditions. 🙂

    Thanks for the praise and the first few paragraphs were a joy to write. I had to stop the editor from changing the words and structure into their more literal meanings and structures. The argument that won the day was: It’s an experiment in technique! 🙂

    Some days I struggle to keep up too, thus the mid-week hiatus which is thrown randomly into the mix. It is particularly difficult when I have had to work late into the evening. Fortunately touch typing was taught to me as a young bloke – the government paid for the lessons.

    Thanks, and watch out for marauding pheasants in your greenhouse!

    We’ve had about six massive trees fall over in the storm. I’ll leave the cleaning up job for a few more weeks so that the place can dry up a bit.



  41. Hi Margaret,

    There are about six very large trees lying on the ground, and I noticed that two smaller trees now seem hung up in an adjacent tree. It sure will be a lot of work cleaning up the mess. So far, our infrastructure has survived intact, but trees can fall in the days after a storm has passed. Dunno, but I’m being careful. The main road over the top of the mountain range is shut, so things must have been pretty bad up there.

    The lack of cool air interacting with your hot air might be the reason you’re not seeing any thunderstorms, but dunno. Each year can be different, that’s for sure. No thunderstorms is no bad thing really as trees inevitably become ignited by the lightning strike. Not necessarily a good thing.

    Thanks for the drought map, and it tells an horrendous tale. It surprises me that I’ve never had a comment from anyone in the SW of your country, but on the other hand that means that there is nobody to offend: I would leave that part of the country if faced with those conditions. There is only so much water to go around, and water is the limiting factor, and in that part of the country it must be brutal to have ended up looking like that on the drought map.

    Exactly, nobody wants to hear about that side of the green story. Even with 42 solar panels and living at 37.5’S the past three days have generated 6.6kWh for the entire three days. Yeah, not good and I wouldn’t bet the farm on this technology. Just had to spend a grand this morning on a replacement battery charger, so it is not like the technology is even cheap. Oh well, moving on… I took some good photos of the minor flooding in the valley below.

    Good stuff, and face to face catch ups are great after the long break. 🙂 Hey, I’ve also heard that theory about teachers (and it applies to other professions as well) in that the first year or two are particularly challenging and then things get easier as your immune system gets honed.

    The guy displays a stoic nature by getting out and about when he’s gone through such a traumatic health experience. Respect. 🙂 One of the things I missed the most during all of the craziness was catching up with people face to face. The socialness of this blog is a soothing balm given all of that other craziness going on. Dunno how face to face catchups will go in the future, because in the big smoke there are still restrictions. It’s a long weekend here too. Oh well.



  42. Hi Lewis,

    You must remonstrate thoroughly with that dodgy computer of yours, and then you must chastise the thing firmly! That’ll teach the hungry beastie to gobble up your comment. Actually my far newer computer did that exact trick the other day. It was a real bummer I can tell you, and my memory isn’t that great. On the brighter side: Typing out the reply the second time around is great practice for something or other.

    We went out into the local area today to have a look at the damage from the storm. It was an epic storm, and there were trees down right across the area. The main road up and over the mountain range remained closed to the public – although a lot of people live in those higher elevations along the main road. Hope nobody or any houses were hit by falling trees, but hadn’t heard of any such news so far.

    About six large trees have come down here and are now laying on the ground. There are branches down all over the place, but compared to other peoples experiences we’ve come through not so badly.

    With only 20 minutes of peak sunlight yesterday and the day before that, we had to fire up the generator so as to put some charge into the batteries. I hadn’t tested the battery charger device which sits between the batteries and the generator, and the results are in and they’re not good. Had to run the generator for about 9 hours yesterday and the thing makes an awful lot of noise. By late last night I was feeling the noise of that beast of a machine in my head. And to add insult to injury, the battery charger put very little charge into the batteries.

    Dipped into savings and splashed some mad cash for a replacement battery charger this morning. This stuff ain’t cheap. It always makes me laugh when serious people bang on about: ‘these here solar panel things are just getting cheaper and cheaper’ – except the rest of the stuff needed to have a system, doesn’t seem to be following the same price arc. People can’t see beyond the panels. Oh well.

    Scored some nice bakery products whilst out and about. Lunch options were limited but we enjoyed a very tasty: Eccles cake. It was very nice and some geese tried to bot some chunks of the cake. Geese mustn’t be all that bright because we chucked chunks of the cake to them and still they were looking at us and not noticing the chunks of cake which now lay on the ground. Fortunately a raven or crow swept in and scored the chunks of cake. That’s who the boss is, right there.

    Not much else to report really, there are plenty of large trees down on the main dirt road near to the house and the local council used a huge bulldozer to move the chunks off the road. I noticed one or two broken trees hanging in the air up above the road – probably set to fall without notice or warning. And the downed trees represented most species of tree so it was an equal opportunity thing that storm.

    One of the fruit trees in the orchard is a carob, and apparently it is a self pollinating variety, although I’m a bit dubious of the claim. Anyway, that particular tree has fallen over and I’m left wondering if I should build up the clay around the tree, or rip it out and replant it elsewhere. Dunno, but whatever the case may end being, I’ll give the tree a decent pruning. It seems a bit of a shame to dig it up, but what else do you? On the other hand, there is a lot of water around and the tree will probably transplant easily enough. Not sure really, would you transplant the tree? It is only about 7 foot tall now.

    Hey, the news of the sting has been all over the media down here – it was apparently cooked up over a few beers. Who knew that crims could be so dumb? Also proves that encrypted does not necessarily mean what you think it means.

    The article on complexity was interesting, but kind of went nowhere. I suspect that the author of the article may be in a love-hate relationship with increasing complexity?

    Haha! Surely no self respecting stoner would fall for that trick? It seems like an amusing baiting arrangement, all for the jab. I’d heard that jabs were being incentivised in your country. There is a certain weirdness in announcing that somebody has allegedly died from getting vaccinated and then apparently going on to say that doctors are getting good at treating clots (the facts in this particular instance suggest that things might be otherwise): Second woman dies from extremely rare blood clots likely linked to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

    The paywall wanted subscriptions and weren’t afraid to demand them! 🙂

    Exactly, popularity comes and goes, and sometimes popularity can destroy the original charm an area once had. I saw that play out over the years whilst living in the inner suburbs. The main problem as I see it is that people enjoy some aspects but are quietly horrified by other aspects – but then once the people are entrenched they then begin to demand change to get rid of the unpleasant side of things – and then the place becomes utterly without charm. It is like people moving next to live music venues and complaining endlessly about the noise, and then so many restrictions are heaped upon the venue that it can no longer operate.

    Yes, dogs like walks, but they also like to be rewarded by food at the end of their walks – this is how they roll in nature. Lest we muck around with such patterns. They won’t like it, you know!

    Hmm, you are clearly tougher with your strawberries than I. I’ll need to harden up I can see. The best fruit and vegetable growers brook no nonsense from their plants. I’m just hoping to be above average, this best business is for others and might attract the awful hubris. Yikes! Nobody wants that.

    I’ll be very interested to hear what Mr Lewis has to say. The author suffered an awful tragedy recently from what I read in the papers. I hope he’s doing OK.



  43. @ Margaret – Luckily, H is not a chewer. Or at least, not so far. And she doesn’t get into “things”, as other dogs, do. Though I’ve got to watch out for stray paper towels, on the floor. 🙂 .

    I’ve always believed, as you do, that working in public settings, really beefs up your immune system. I worked retail, for a lot of years. And then in public service (libraries.) I hardly ever got sick. But when I would pick something up, I’d go down hard! But that was just every four or five years, or so. Lew

  44. Yo, Chris – Well, I can pretty much reconstruct a lost post, as I jot down little notes. Sometimes, I can even decipher them. The library hold slips are ideal. They also make great shopping lists!

    It looks like the death toll from your storm, is low. Other than the old fellow who drowned in his car. Must have had a REALLY important reason to be out and about. Here, when we have similar storms, it seems like the toll is always three to five. Mostly, people crushed by trees in their cars, or homes. We’ve talked before about how (at least here) there’s always one old fellow who steps out of his car, and gets swept away. All part of our “You can’t tell me what to do,” culture. Watch out for those hung up trees. They don’t call them widow makers, for nothin’!

    Come the zombie apocalypse, you don’t want a generator, banging away. Unless your trying to lure a large number of zombies, into some kind of a trap. And, if “Walking Dead” is anything to go by, most of those attempts go horribly wrong. Ohhhh! That’s some serious cash for a good battery charger. But aren’t those solar panels, cheap? 🙂 .

    Eccles cake is really interesting. Especially since I have a current bush, that was passed onto me, when Ruth (the real Garden Goddess), moved to eastern Washington. She used to make current jelly, to sell at the Fall Bazaar. Yummy! I found the part of the article about “similar pastries”, really interesting. Everyone always has a better idea 🙂 .

    And further down the rabbit hole, was Elizabeth Raffald. Who did the first printed recipe, for the cake. What a business woman! I found it interesting that the trajectory of her life pretty much follows Rosa Lewis’s (The Duchess of Duke Street.) Right down to the drunken husband. Though Lewis sent her’s packing, early on.

    Would I transplant a carob tree? Would I plant one in the first place. I’m still miffed that old hippies claim it “tastes just like chocolate.” Well, no. And nutritional yeast doesn’t taste like cheese, either. “Fool me once …” But setting aside my prejudices, I suppose it depends on how emotionally attached you are, to the tree. But, at only 7′, and having given it a good pruning, it shouldn’t be too difficult to either re-plant it, or move it. In your spare time … 🙂 .

    Sounds like the crims, besides taking on a good accountant, ought to line up a good computer person, too. I suppose you’re careful, who you take on as clients. I read a bit about your “Royal” resorts and casinos mess. Wouldn’t want to be their accountant. The long time accountant for a recent high government official (the highest), is likely to turn evidence over, to the Department of Justice, in the near future. THAT could get interesting. Then there was Ben Affleck in the movie, “The Accountant.” Great film.

    Speaking of films, there was a review of “Infinite”, over at Slate Magazine, on-line. I didn’t link to it, as it’s full of (as advertised) spoilers. Still sounds interesting, and, by the time I see it, I’ll have forgotten most of the revealed plot points, anyway. 🙂 . What’s interesting is that, unknown to the star and director until two weeks ago, the movie studio decided to skip the theaters, and go direct to using it to kick off their new streaming service.

    Well, recreational mara-hochie is legal, in this State. So no entrapment is involved in the “joint for a jab” scheme.

    The weather today, and best be described as “dreary.” Hmmm. Something you never see in a forecast. When I took H out for her walk this morning, we hit it lucky, between rain bands. Must be living right, or something. Hubris, hubris … Prof. Mass has an interesting post on our chances of wildfires, this year. Low. Now if the pyromaniacs just keep their matches in their pockets …

    You see the same thing, in people moving to acquire “country charm.” Which last until the neighbor spews liquid, well fermented cow poop, on his fields. Or the wind changes, and you discover an industrial pig farm, down the road. Or your computer becomes a very expensive paperweight, due to no internet service. As the old timers say, “See if they last a winter, or two.” Lew

  45. Chris,

    I thought that might’ve happened. Thanks for the waterfall link. That was cool.


  46. Hi DJ,

    The website software placed both yours and Lewis’s comment in the trash yesterday. This is not to be taken as a reflection on either of your writing skills, it is just that the software took offense somehow to both of your comments. Looking at them I’m absolutely stuffed if I know why the comments were trashed. OK, so I did a deep dive into the background admin of the website settings and discovered that you’d commented with three URL links and the website was set to three or more links being something indicative of spam so your comment was automatically trashed. Lewis’s comment, well I can’t work out why it was trashed, and perhaps the robots are having a personality issue? It happens… Pesky machines, I still recall the awful demand of Robocop: ‘you have thirty seconds to comply’, and you just knew the warped robot wanted deep down to shoot first and ask questions later.

    Mate, it is crazy days down here. I just discovered whilst walking the dogs in the dark that the neighbours have been without power for two days. The storm was epic. For reasons which shall remain obscure, we headed out today in search of quality scones and home made jam, but were thwarted by the reality that roads were soundly blocked be fallen trees and downed power lines. I missed the scones and had to return home again, but oh well, we must occasionally suffer the fates sent to test our mettle.

    The winds were crazy, and I might try moving the downed fruit trees over the next week or so. The carob was a serious loss, but perhaps with a bit of care the tree may be recovered. Just for fun, there is another cut off low set to hit here next Wednesday. We’ve done something very bad down here to enjoy such a reproach from the old ones, but my understanding is that they haven’t gone anywhere, and we’ve all been very naughty with how the environment is being treated, so yeah consequences and stuff.

    Truth to tell, we planted so many diverse fruit trees so that no matter the season, we get to harvest of some tree fruit crops. As a response to a highly variable climate, it kind of works.

    > That wet cold at +6C gets into the bones no matter what

    Mate, I 100% hear you in that. One of the advantages of living on the side of a mountain saddle is that there is excellent drainage, but with the loamy clay soil the water sinks into the subsoil where it is not as easily evaporated. The other day after the storm, there were standing puddles, and the soils in the orchard could take no further moisture. And when the trees transpired, they created their own clouds over the mountain range. It is rare to experience so much water here.

    Exactly, MMT, it’s just some overblown theory, you know! It won’t end well. Channelling Mr Adams, of course.

    Yeah, well yesterday I heard one of the neighbours kicking off their generator and then promptly switching it off again. I put the call out this evening if anyone needs assistance or electricity, but proving that people are unpredictable, they’re using their vehicles electrical systems to charge their devices. My little generator is perhaps 9 horsepower, and vehicles can be ten to fifteen times that. Hmm, resilient but the enormity of the waste.

    Yeah exactly, and double secret exactly. You and I are disciplined enough to do the stretching and requisite rehabilitation – others not so much. They just want what they want, and for this gear there is no silver bullet.

    I have to fess up here. My old Sensei taught such niceties – he was old school. To cut a long story short, an old friend of mine was considering joining the training, so he hung around so as to get a feel for whether the school and dojo was right for him. My old mate had the gift of the gab and he’d speak with the Sensei whilst we were all training, and my mate eventually pestered me to do a one on one after the lesson. So the rules were agreed in advance that there would be no head shots, and the first thing my mate did was take a shot at my head. I had not expected that outcome and was very ungentlemanly in the reply. But here is the weird thing, the Sensei upbraided me for losing my cool and he said I should have expected the lack of adherence to the rules. A hard lesson learned, almost out of the book of Sun Tzu. Rather than my mate having disregarded the pleasantries, it was I who was in the wrong in that instance. The story does not reflect well upon me, but on the other hand I learned a valuable lesson.

    Ah, Canon is a noble brand with a long history. I’m more of a Pentax guy myself and got into that via the venerable 35mm MZ-50. It is remarkable at how cheap those once high end products now are. It is a bit sad that we have no respect as a society for technology which once made us seem as giants. Kodachrome is dead in the water.

    And the old ones have never gone away and may be flexing their muscles the only way they know how.



  47. Hi Lewis,

    Technology is good, but you’ve proved that perhaps work arounds like your note taking, may be more resilient? A few hours ago whilst walking the dogs in the dark, I discovered that the neighbours have been without electricity since the storm knocked out the power (two days ago I’m guessing). I put the call around to see if anyone needs electricity, and discovered that people have been charging their devices via their vehicles. Amazing, and such an outcome was not possible until only very recently when vehicle electrical systems began to accommodate 12V USB devices. I must be a bit dense as I’d noticed that neighbours cars were running without leaving their premises, but hadn’t understood why that was happening. But I’d noticed that up here it sure was dark at night.

    The toll is now at two I believe. All very sad. When the local river in the valley below flooded many years ago, I watched from the far distance whilst some guy was stuck far out in the water with his station wagon. There was so much water everywhere that I didn’t know where the road even was let alone risking life and limb to get to the bloke. So why would you drive into such water in the first place? Makes no sense to me.

    We headed out this morning in search of quality scones and homemade jam for various reasons I don’t want to go into. We made it about only so far before the roads were closed. The storm was bad here, it was far worse elsewhere. I contacted my mates of the big shed fame to see if they needed some help as their area was hit pretty hard, and so far no reply – which is ominous. Their town was cut off for all intents and purposes. It fascinates me that our local state news carried some weird story about one of your female politicians as the lead article like we care a lot. This is why I no longer pay for such news services. It is bedlam down here. I took the camera with me on the journey and will try to provide some sense of the drama.

    A young lady I know once quipped to me that in season 2 of the walking dead, the zombies came for small holders like me and utterly destroyed them. She seemed rather pleased with having shared that opinion. 🙂 Zombies require brains, not fruit and vegetables! But yeah all the same, generators and lights are a problem when it comes to zombies. Zombieland 2 dealt with a mass zombie attack in a novel way, but of course they had Woodie, and he’s da man!

    Yes, the charger was some serious mad cash, and I doubt peoples usual annual electricity bills are anywhere near that number. Mind you and on the hand, the lights are still on here, so there is something to be said for that. Things in the area are not like that for other folks right now. It’s dark.

    Thought you might enjoy the Eccles cake reference, and it was good. Oh my, Elizabeth Raffald was not one to trifle with and her words to her husband reflects this: “I do think that it might be the best step you could take, for then you would be relieved of all your troubles and anxieties and you really do harass me very much.” Such classy understatement belies the awful realities which Elizabeth was burdened with. A truly talented business lady. But Rosa Lewis, few folk have such an avid taste and energy for life. And through reading about these two I was introduced to Richard Hillary. What a trio of characters who faced hardship and came back kicking hard. Of course such energy does not come cheap, and they burnt brightly those three.

    The hippies lied about the carob tree and a few other things now that I think about it. There is no emotional investment to the tree, but all the same your alternative suggestion sounds worth the effort. I’m unsure as to what this spare time thing is – it sounds like a fantastical monster, and I for one hope that it does not come and get us!

    We burned off some of the downed vegetation today, but everything is so wet that it takes skill to light a fire in such conditions. Arsonists lack such skills which is why they have to wait for hot and windy conditions – the softies. Might have to burn off a bit more stuff tomorrow. The storm was epic.

    Hehe! Yeah, successful crims probably have to be what they call in the biz: vertically integrated. Yes, those particular businesses are in probably in a whole truck load of trouble. But then the state gubarmit coffers get enriched by the high rollers and so I feel that there is an inherent conflict of interest in the entire sordid affair. Best that you and I are not involved! 🙂 That’s the unpleasant side of the profession: You hear BS, you see the numbers, and sometimes you keep quiet or you call BS on the proponents of the numbers. It is an unpleasant way to make a living in those circumstances and I’ve had the good fortune to only get caught in the snares of nefarious folks once or twice. An unpleasant experience.

    Infinite looks intense, in a good way. 🙂 Unfortunately for me, I have a very good memory for narratives (offset by an awful memory for anything visual) and so that is how I recall things, by their stories – so spoilers, don’t spoil, they reveal, but for me are very hard to forget.

    Hehe! And to think that I thought that the jab for joint thing was: a bait and switch routine. Shows how my mind works… Ook! It ain’t legal down here, but I guess time will sort that out. Incidentally I’d heard that prizes and all sorts of other weird and wonderful trinkets were being offered for the jab. If the need were self evident, such things would not be required, and those who don’t well too bad. I’m reading The Stand and am enjoying the delightful characterisation and story is really giving me an insight into those times in your country. The book is an engrossing read, and I’m having trouble putting it down again once my nose is buried within the pages.

    Maybe the weather forecasters need to spice things up a bit with the occasional moral judgements upon the forecast. “Hi there folks, today’s weather is going to be about as appealing as accidentally stepping in a cold dog poop, after all if the poop is cold, you can’t even right size the situation by remonstrating with the careless pooch owner. That’s a poop day in the forecast, that is.” Hehe! How much fun would the weather be if the forecasters had to come up with a new description every single day of the year! They might need the challenge. 🙂 Mate, I tell ya, the past few days have been horrendous, but today the winds stilled and some sun shone upon the farm, and the batteries recharged to 100% full. A fine day on the other side of an epic storm.

    Thanks for the heads up, the good Professor is always worth listening to.

    Hey, the old timers say the exact same thing down this way too. If folks can make it two winters, then they’re probably going to do OK.



  48. Yo, Chris – Re: The neighbors generators. Until they run out of petrol. You know, your lights blazing away on the mountain side, might make some jealous. You might want to take a little survey, of where you have light leaks. For future reference. In case things get bad, well, even worse than your storm. If you can imagine. Break out those old WWII black out curtains!

    I would be interesting to know, what errand was so pressing, that the guy in the station wagon felt the need to drive into flood waters? I wonder if there’s a web site? Something like, “Dumb Reasons People Gave for Getting Themselves in a Tight Spot.” Every once in awhile, there’s a story about a body, found wedged in a chimney. Some crim who thought it was a bright idea, to gain entry. Or, maybe they were auditioning for Santa, in the local pageant? Channeling T. Cruise?

    Sorry you didn’t score some quality baked goods (scones.) Elinor keeps giving me these frozen waffles, that are pure junk food. And, irresistible. I’m going to tell her they constipate me. Anyway, I had some, last night, with strawberries from the garden and a sliced banana, from who knows where. Just to try and convince myself that it was a healthy choice.

    Which reminds me, the last three batches of bananas, from the grocery, were fine. No black fungus. Also, store brand chocolate and popcorn, are back on the shelf. On sale, no less. I stocked up.

    Fingers crossed that all’s well, with your mates in the Big Shed. Keep us posted.

    I figure the congress critter, making your news, is Miss Marjorie T-G. Another political whack job, with too much money. Mean little thing. And, no, you shouldn’t be exposed to the likes of her.

    I’ve watched the series, “Duchess of Duke Street,” a couple of times. It’s looking a bit dated, these days, but still interesting. That’s the fictionalized account of the life of Rosa Lewis. I picked up a biography, of her, a few years back. She led a fascinating life.

    I watched an interesting movie, last night. “Space Between Us.” (2017). Don’t know how I missed it. Stumbled on it in the dark corners of the library catalog. Kind of a sci-fi rom-com 🙂 .

    I quit enjoyed it, though, thanks to Mr. Greer, the bloom is off the rose. We are not going to colonize Mars. I don’t know if to thank him, or not.

    All “Stand” and no sleep, makes Chris a dull boy. 🙂 . Ah, yes. The dreaded Stephen King Effect.

    Creative weather forecasts, could be a lot of fun. “Today’s weather will be shite, due to something terrible you did in a previous life.” 🙂

    Something you said to DJ, inspired today’s ear worm.

    When I took H out for her walk this morning, there was a pile of fluffy gray feathers, under the pear tree. Some mysterious avian drama, that we are not privy to.

    I’m reading a pretty interesting book, right now. “North by Shakespeare: A Rogue Scholar’s Quest for the Truth Behind the Bard’s Work.” (Blanding, 2021). The “rogue scholar” is a fellow named Dennis McCarthy. An autodidact, with only a high school diploma, who’s managed to crack the world of biogeography and Shakespeare studies.

    Biogeography is a new one, on me. It’s the study of why plants and animals, are, where they are. Any-who, McCarthy’s story is almost as interesting as Thomas North’s. Whose writings and plays, Shakespeare might have heavily borrowed from. The term plagiarism, is bandied about a bit. But so far, I see it a bit differently. Shakespeare borrowed concepts and even the turn of phrase. But synthesized it into his own unique product and staging. After all, none of North’s plays survive. They didn’t “catch fire,” as Shakespeare’s did. And last into our present day. And maybe, even into our Star Trek future. 🙂

    Well, what I try and do is copy my deathless prose. And if I don’t get your edit screen, I paste it into a document. Which I keep on tap, until I see said deathless prose, show up on your blog. But I slipped up. Flying fingers are frequently not your friends. 🙂 . Lew

  49. @Pam
    Both restaurants were dine in establishments. One was in Chicago. I hope we both get rain soon. For awhile today we had a high chance of thunderstorms forecast for this afternoon. That has now changed to nothing.


  50. Hi Chris,
    As I’m reading your more detailed descriptions I’m getting a clearer picture of the storm. We’ve had storms of that nature every few years or so. I may have mentioned that tornados hit this property twice before we moved here. There’s a large garage type building that Doug uses as his workshop that has been replaced twice. Last summer we had a pretty big storm that took out the power for three days. Around here it’s a good idea to have a basement or if not have a plan to get to a neighbor who does. Good luck with the clean up.

    People continue to move to those areas that are suffering from what is now termed a mega drought.

    Not only has the gentleman recovered from a stroke, he’s also in the last few years recovered from cancer and a serious infection after knee replacement surgery.

    As I mentioned to Pam we were forecast to have thunderstorms this afternoon but once again that’s out. I just continue with my watering schedule after being disappointed too many times. Flowers are blooming ahead of schedule. It is supposed to cool down some next week so that’s something.

    Went to the farmer’s market this morning. Those who are selling fruits and vegetables are really having a tough time of it but there was still a good variety of produce and lots of strawberries! I got there just after they opened at 8 AM and it seemed that many had the same idea – get there early and beat the heat. You will cringe but I’ve been out the door for my morning walk at 5:15 now. Our road is mostly without shade so it’s pretty hot. Then I do my 3 – 4 hours of outside work.

    I rarely get sick but do wonder how long that immunity lasts. It’s been almost 10 years since I was exposed to all those kids. I never got the flu despite getting coughed on regularly. Got pretty cavalier about it and didn’t get a flu shot until this year – the year I probably didn’t need one.


  51. Chris
    Did the MeanWell folks sell you the $139 programmer an cables that may be needed to put in the charging parameters for the new LiFePo4 batteries.
    I got delayed on one of my private projects for a week or so. (involved a programmer that I didn’t include in my initial order). My need wasn’t any where near as a critical as a failed electrical system. ? I found that in your linked info

  52. Hi Margaret and Al,

    We were out in the property cleaning up today, and as you’d imagine, it’s a big job and we finished late (although the job remains incomplete). Promise to speak tomorrow as I have to write tonight. I’ll chuck in some photos.



  53. Hi Lewis,

    Recalcitrant might be the appropriate word for the evening. 🙂 It describes the sad state of affairs which is the editor and I working out in the forest cleaning up the serious disaster zone for most of the day. It was a big day of work and I even did my shoulder stretches at the end of the work too. One can’t be too careful in these dodgy times.

    If things got that bad, I’d probably turn the lights off and have an early night of it. Winter is the time for deep sleeping. The dogs alert me as to any mischief occurring in the area and so I can ordinarily sleep well. That is how they earn their feed, and I haven’t had to train them either – they just know what to do.

    I was wondering that about the guy stuck in the flood waters too. He was so far out into the water that there was nothing I could do to help him either – he made his bed and he had to lie in it. And the thing was, the road twists and turns there and there was so much water, I couldn’t even see where the road was. I’ll bet he was surprised at the outcome.

    Ooo, imagine getting stuck in a chimney? As someone who regularly cleans the wood heater flue, there is no way I’d get down a chimney due to the toxic load of stuff within that environment. In the old days that really black creosote used to be collected and used to treat timber posts so as to stop them rotting. Ook! Back in the big smoke I actually had to call in a chimney sweep so as to clean out a yellow jacket wasps nest. It was revolting, but the chimney sweep bloke looked very unfussed about it all.

    Not to put too fine a point upon the matter, but the words freshly baked scones and frozen waffles should probably not be used in the same sentence. It seems a bit disrespectful somehow, but all the same the frozen waffles are probably really tasty. Yum!

    The banana fungus is a bit weird as I can’t discern any pattern with it all either. All I know is that I’m seeing more of it as time goes on.

    Mate, I haven’t heard from my mates of the big shed fame, but the power is out all over the region and smart devices barely last a days charge so it is very possible they haven’t even received the call for assistance.

    Your politics disturbs me, but our politics seems pretty wacko too. The state gubarmine seems hell bent on extending its powers into the distant future. Someone wiser than I remarked that: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely: Andrews government secretly negotiating permanent pandemic laws to replace state of emergency. Such broad ranging powers can only but be abused. It makes me wonder if I should leave this state.

    Rosa Lewis sounds like an awesome person who set an outstanding table. And food is but one part of a hosts table. 🙂 My mates of the big shed fame once quipped that we were able to sing for our supper and I was rather amused by the observation.

    The Space Between Us seemed like a lovely film. And yeah humans don’t do so crash hot in low gravity environments. Incidentally the soundtrack was a local singer: Vance Joy, a very talented individual.

    I doubt very much that Mr Greer knew about the effects of the magnetosphere before someone else pointed out the obvious conclusion to him, and to be honest I think it would have merely confirmed his worldview. To quote Scotty from Star Trek: Ya canna change the laws of physics captain. I never thought the Earth was that bad a place in the first place, the real problem is that folks ignore exponential’s.

    Stephen King has that effect upon the reader and I can barely put the book down. Michael Lewis’s The Big Short was the last book that put such a spell upon me.

    Hehe! Loved the weather forecast mix and mashup. Fun stuff.

    You got my right in the guts with the Simon and Garfunkle. I grew up listening to those two dudes. Apparently on the last tour they were espousing what good mates they were – the facts might possibly suggest otherwise.

    Ouch! Did H try to snack upon any of the feathers? A good source of protein.

    Man, sorry, I’ve gotta bounce as I have to write tonight and it is not far off 9pm.



  54. Yo, Chris – I imagine your place (and State), look something like after our Columbus Day Storm. Which we’ve talked about, before.

    So, have they named your storm, yet? We were lucky (?) enough to be able to attach our’s, to a holiday. hence the eponymous name.

    I (or, more likely H), must be living right. When I took her out for her walk, this morning, we squeaked in between rain showers. It is very muggy. Dew point is at 100. Looking at some of Prof. Mass’s forecast maps, this round of rain may stretch into Al and DJ’s territory. And maybe even as far east as my Idaho friends. Oh, well. By Thursday it’s forecast to be in the 80sF.

    I spent some time in the garden, yesterday, before the skies opened up. Replanted some Siberian Mammoth Sunflower, that didn’t sprout, in a couple of spots I wanted them to sprout in. Also, planted more Sweet Basil. That stuff is hard to start, but once it gets going … Threw a couple of tomato cages, over tomatoes in the Grandma Gen Memorial Garden. Pulled out all the camomile. It’s done for the year. Dried enough to keep me in tea, through the next winter. And, I weeded, weeded, and weeded some more. I’ve got one bed that’s being overrun by what the Master Gardener’s call “canary grass.” Nasty stuff. I may even be laying cardboard in part of that bed, just to stay ahead of it.

    We also have a segment of the State government, that keeps trying to pass legislation, to limit the governor’s future emergency powers. Small vocal minority. Locally, I think I mentioned, that reporting on You Know What, has gotten pretty spooty. I think the local Powers That Be, have told the newspaper to lay off, as it’s “Bad for Business.” But, a few statistics slip by. 129 new cases, last week. 10 in hospital and 3 deaths.

    That same small vocal minority agitated for numbers by zip code. Which, were finally provided by the county health department. I’m sure they thought their districts would be case free. Ooops! Turns out, those were the hot spots. But now, they’re not reporting by age or zip code, anymore.

    So, how far along are you in “The Stand?” If you haven’t seen the original mini-series, do. The casting was perfect. I haven’t seen a release date, yet, for the new mini-series, on DVD. I doubt it will measure up to the original.

    Besides the Shakespeare, I am also reading “A Short History of Humanity: A New History of Old Europe.” (Krause & Trappe, 2021). It’s the latest updates in the field of archaeogenetics. Ancient peoples, where and when they migrated about. It’s very readable. Much appreciated by a layman, like me.

    And, from our Department of the Truly Ridiculous, we have this …

    Just in case you have a lot of dead frogs, laying about, and don’t know what to do with them. I think kittens, would have been far more effective. 🙂 Lew

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